The 4 Best Dog Litter Boxes: Tested & Evaluated 2023
Housetraining your puppy or adopted adult dog is no easy feat! (1)
Mistakes happen. Stains are made. Smells accumulate.
Adding onto that the extra difficulty of living in an apartment or having a patio with no grass. Where is your house-trainee meant to do their business?
Fear not. That’s what dog litter boxes were made for.
We associate litter boxes with cats, but dogs can be trained to use them too!
We’ll do the ultimate deep dive into dog litter boxes today. After teaming up with an independent panel of experts comprising veterinarians and canine behaviourists, we spent several weeks testing out litter boxes of every shape and size. Below, we share our findings. We’ll discuss how to use a dog litter box, the qualities of a great dog litter box and finally end with our reviews of the best litter boxes available on the Australian market. You won’t be disappointed!
Quick Picks - The Top 3
Our Number 1 Pick -
The Potty Plant
- Real grass patch
- Great odour control
- Durable design
- Relatively good sizing
- Convenient subscription service
Runner Up -
Savic Aseo Jumbo Litter Tray
- Durable plastic
- High sides prevent spilling
- Good size for small dogs
- Easy to clean
Third Choice -
BLOODYRIPPA Litter Box Pan
- Rimmed lid for less mess
- Good capacity
Australia's Best Dog Litter Trays Reviewed
Quite a few things to think about for a toilet! Now let’s dive into the best dog litter trays Australia has to offer as agreed upon by our team of independent experts. We must stress again that some of these will be advertised as cat litter trays. That is perfectly fine and normal.
We have verified that the products mentioned have good enough holding capacity and size for at least a puppy to use as part of their house training. Some will be suitable for small dogs too in an apartment/indoor setting.
What sets this product apart from the rest?
"Our dog toilet tests had a clear winner when it came to health and comfort for dogs, real grass. The best real grass option is Potty Plant. Highly recommend."
Okay okay, we are cheating a bit here with a grass potty as the headliner of the bunch but bear with us. There is a method to our madness!
A traditional plastic litter box can be a tough sell for your dog. Substrate preference is a real thing. This means that your dog may have certain preferences as to what they want to pee or poop on. Sounds fussy but it’s more of an instinctual thing than anything else. Dogs like to feel nature under their paws. Therefore, grass is the perfect candidate!
The Potty Plant is an ingenious subscription based bathroom pad service made for house training doggies or pups that live in apartments. All I had to do was invest in the first starter pack which gave me the frame, lining and a first patch of fresh grass. I soon saw how easy it was to use because of my dog’s natural draw to peeing and pooping on the grass. He used the potty with almost no training at all (though not completely without direction or mishaps so be aware of that).
The frame is durable and keeps the grass locked in so your dog can’t dig at it.
It is a super convenient service once you set up the subscription. The manufacturer gives clear guidelines as to the frequency you’ll need for your dog’s age, size and breed. Then simply set and forget. A new grass patch will turn up when you need it.
As for sizing, the Potty Plant measures 83 cm x 62 cm x 6 cm. This is a decent size to cover most small, medium and large-ish dogs. In fact, it's larger than our number two option next. However, members of our panel of researchers noted that extra-large dogs may struggle to get comfortable.
Overall, this is a winning product on a “substrate” that you know your dog already likes!
Alright so real litter boxes now - here we go. The Savic Aseo Jumbo Litter Tray is a cat litter tray originally, but its size and shape make it ideal for small dogs.
It is a basic litter tray comprised of a large basin for you to pour the litter into. It is a deep plastic basin that is 28 cm in height, making it similar to our number three choice in this way. This is great for helping to contain smells but also prevents any stray...umm...substances to fly out (especially as it is a natural instinct for dogs to kick back on their business to bury it).
The length and width are 67.5 cm x 48.5 cm respectively, this is wide enough for small and toy dogs. Puppies will also get on well with it.
As it is a simple plastic tray, our team of independent experts loved how it is also elementary to clean. You empty the basin with all of the old litter and clean the plastic tray periodically. The litter you use will clump the liquids and solids together, making spot cleaning relatively easy. Therefore, you won’t need to do a full deep clean of the plastic tray daily.
The plastic is durable and should hold your dog’s weight well (if they aren’t too big!).
All in all, this is a great, simple litter for your dog to get started with their house training.
This litter box may be cheap, but it’s a good option for puppy house training.
The BLOODYRIPPA is an Australian brand that creates good products. Plus the name will bring out the Aussie in all of us. This high-sided litter box with a removable lid is no different.
After setting up this litter box, I quickly realised that the rimmed lid is extremely helpful for keeping the litter in the pan. Litter flying out is the biggest annoyance of litter boxes so this is the best protector on this list.
The sizing is ideal for small puppies measuring 49.8 cm x 40.4 cm x 14.2 cm, making it smaller than the first two options on this list yet larger than our next choice. If your puppy is quite small and struggles to climb into their puppy litter tray, you may want to remove the rimmed lid to make the height shorter and easier to climb into.
Though the pan is small, it suits dogs of up to 5 kg in weight, so don’t be afraid to use it for your pup.
Best of all, the company offer a hassle-free warranty! It’s a no-brainer!
Everyone on our team of independent experts are in agreement: this is the most adorable little litter box and completely portable!
Ideal for puppies, the Pet Fit For Life litter tray is quite small. The dimensions are 40.6 cm x 30.5 cm x 12.7 cm. But if the sizing is right for your pup, this will be a great addition to your life.
If you intend to travel with your puppy or go on road trips, this litter box is fantastic. Unlike other potties on this list, it is fully collapsible meaning that it flat packs into a neat storage disk whenever you don’t need it.
Because it is built for travelling, this litter box is incredibly easy to clean, like our second choice. It is made of a tough nylon exterior and smooth plastic inner lining that is easily wiped clean and stored away for future use.
The litter box can hold around 2 kg of litter at a time.
This model is economical as well as high-quality. To top it all off, the manufacturer offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on the product so you can buy with confidence. It is well worth the pennies!
Can Dogs Use A Litter Box?
Yes, they can! It’s not only stubborn felines who can use litter. Many dogs take to using dog litter quite easily. Our team of independent experts say your dog can join the ranks by following these steps:
1. Buy a dog litter box that suits your dog best
Whether you are buying a bed, a toy or even a crate, you need to keep your dog’s particular quirks in mind. If your dog hates enclosed spaces, a covered litter box is not the way to go. If you have a very small puppy, choose a litter tray with low sides so it is easier for them to climb in. Think of your dog’s unique needs to guide your perfect purchase.
2. Buy dog litter
Dog litter is very similar to cat litter in that it is designed to absorb liquids quickly and reduce odours. There are a variety of substrates to choose from.
“Dog litter comes in a variety of different forms, such as pellets and clumping clay. The most common kind of dog litter is paper pellets made with recycled newspaper... This type of dog litter works similarly to cat litter.” - Rebecca Desfosse from PetMD
3. Let your dog investigate the litter box with no pressure
When you first introduce the litter box into the home, your dog will likely be curious and want to sniff around. Let them get acquainted with the litter box with no pressure to use it at first.
If you only introduce them when you want them to use it, they may get confused or scared of the new object. So, let them get comfortable with it being around before moving onto the next step.
4. Supervise your dog to see when they need to pee or poop
Dogs have very clear telltale signs when they need to pee or poop. The main three are:
- Sniffing the ground
You need to supervise your dog so you can tell when they are feeling antsy. If you can’t supervise them, you may want to consider crate training. (3)
5. Take your dog to their litter box to relieve themselves
When the signs are there that your dog needs to go, scoop them up and usher them quickly and calmly to their litter box. They will soon understand that this is their new toilet. If your dog is already “midstream” on the kitchen floor, interrupt them gently and usher them to the litter box. The connection will be made eventually!
What I Look For In A Dog Litter Tray?
“Cat” litter trays
First of all, let’s be honest. Most litter trays on the market are aimed at cats so it is difficult to find litter trays solely aimed at dogs. You are more likely to find pee pads and grass patches aimed at dogs.
However, just because the litter tray may be aimed at cats doesn’t rule it out as an option for you if you want your dog to use one. To make it easy, our expert panel members share that you just need to watch out for the weight capacity and the overall size, paying special attention to the height. We’ll dive into those factors now.
Dogs like to circle around a few times before they squat, so you need a litter tray that allows the full twirl. The most important aspect of sizing, however, is the height.
Cats are super agile creatures. They seemingly float around on air, with expert precision, tap dancing on your laptop keyboard and doing daredevil stunts across the living room furniture.
Your dog - bless them - is nowhere near as light on their feet, dexterous and nimble. In fact, in this case of my puppers, quite the opposite. So, you may find a fabulous litter tray that is large enough in length and width for your dog, but the sides are way too high.
Those upright litter trays that require a huge jump from a ballerina cat to get into will not work well with your dog. High sides are not necessarily a bad thing as they contain more odour and litter within the tray, but the opening needs to be accessible enough for your dog to step into without special effort. Can you imagine jumping over a wall every time you were desperate for a dump? Not fun for anyone involved.
Uncovered vs Covered
Some dogs don’t mind covered litter trays. Covered litter trays are great for odour and spillage control. Cats, of course, love the seclusion and privacy of a covered toilet.
All of that notwithstanding, dogs, in general, are not huge fans of covered litter boxes. They don’t seek the same type of privacy that cats do. As our team of researchers noticed during our trail phase, some pups may even find the experience stressful and claustrophobic since their instincts are to pee or poop on wide-open grass patches.
You know your dog best so do what works best for you and them. We have only concentrated on uncovered trays for the reviews because we find them the most universal.
Coming back to the aforementioned relative clumsiness of dogs and puppies, they are likely to do a bit more damage than the average-sized cat could. If you choose to buy a dog litter tray, it needs to be a sturdy product that can hold your dog’s weight and twirling around before the deed is done. We learned that most litter boxes are made of plastic and will likely be fine with regular use.
Ease of maintenance
Litter trays are quite simple in nature. They are usually just a plastic tray. No nuts and bolts to oil.
That said, you want the material and contours of the tray to be easy to clean. As plastic products, usually litter trays wipe clean with soap and water.
My Final Verdict
Yes, we know we cheated, but our panel of independent experts all agreed that The Potty Plant is probably a better option over a traditional litter box. Why? Well, not all dogs like litter boxes, whereas all dogs like grass. It is ecofriendly and incredibly convenient due to the no-fuss subscription service.
If you would rather go for the traditional litter box, then we recommend the Savic Aseo Jumbo Litter Tray. It has high sides but does have a low opening for your pup to climb in. It allows for a large capacity and the rim keeps litter in. A great product at a great price point.
You can use any litter that suits you and your dog best. Clumping litter is easier to manage because it clings to liquids and solids, trapping moisture and odours. Spot cleaning is therefore very easy. That said, there are more eco-friendly biodegradable options, like wood pellets. There are plant-based pellets too! There is quite the range out there.
As for litter specific for dogs, it does exist though is hard to find. Generally, “pet litter” is quite universal. It just depends on the substrate your dog likes the most. (4)
There are plenty of alternatives to litter boxes if you find that your dog doesn’t enjoy them for one reason or another. Pee pads are a great way of house training your dog. These are highly absorbent, often reusable pads that soak up urine easily.
Pee pads are often used in conjunction with letting your dog go outside.
Stephanie Gibeault from the American Kennel Club writes “Having your dog go outside is the ideal solution, but potty pads can sometimes play a role in successful potty training. For example, with very young puppies it’s necessary to make frequent trips outside. That might be too challenging for elderly owners or apartment dwellers. Or if you don’t have a backyard and your dog’s toilet area is a public place, you might want to limit your puppy’s exposure until he’s fully vaccinated.” (5)
Grass patches are a type of pee pad but are made of real or synthetic grass to simulate the feeling of peeing or pooping in a natural environment. It is said to be more instinctive for your puppy and, therefore, take less training.
Some owners use newspaper potty training when they are in a bind. This is not the worst solution in the world. Your dog will acclimatise to peeing and pooping on newspaper, but it has its drawbacks. Newspaper is not nearly as absorbent, odour controlling or clean as pee pads, litter boxes or grass patches.
- Davis, M. March 21, 2022. “How to Housebreak Your Puppy”. The Spruce Pets. Retrieved May 28, 2023. https://www.thesprucepets.com/about-how-to-housebreak-your-puppy-2804690
- Desfosse, R. December 10, 2018. “Is Dog Litter a Thing?”. PetMD. Retrieved May 28, 2023. https://www.petmd.com/dog/care/dog-litter-thing
- Scott, D. December 5, 2022. “Crate Training A Puppy: 6 Easy Steps”. Dog Naturally Magazine. Retrieved May 28, 2023. https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/crate-training-a-puppy/
- Farricelli, A. December 22, 2022. “Paper Training Your Puppy to Pee on Newspaper”. Pethelpful. Retrieved May 28, 2023. https://pethelpful.com/dogs/Paper-Training-Your-Puppy-to-Pee-on-Newspaper
- Gibeault, S. March 4, 2022. “The Ins and Outs of Potty Pad Training”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved May 28, 2023. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/the-ins-and-outs-of-potty-pad-training/