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Build an Easy Homemade Dog Potty for your Dog in 30 Minutes

Updated on July 20, 2014
outdoor potty for my dog.
outdoor potty for my dog.
Plywood between 4 foot 2x2 pieces of lumber
Plywood between 4 foot 2x2 pieces of lumber

Owners of small dogs know how frustrating and challenging it can be getting your pet to do its job outside on hot, humid or sub zero days. The indoor porta potties that are sold may work well, but as a dog owner I prefer my pet to do its job outside versus in the house.

My 8 year old Shih Tzu has a potty that is build from a 4x4 piece of plywood and 2x2 pieces of lumber. Two rolls of sod covers the plywood resembling a small grassy area. The sod is replaces twice per year, once in the fall and then again in early spring.

The potty is located outside in a protected area, so it has minimal exposure to sun, rain, and snow. It is hidden from view from my neighbors. My Shih Tzu has a bell that is located on the door that she rings if she has to use her potty.


As a dog owner, I am a firm proponent of walking and exercising my dog, but she is small and weighs under 10 pounds. She walks twice per day when the weather is suitable, but when she cannot go for her daily walks or rings her bell in the middle of the night (ouch!) her potty is a “life saver.”



Below are the supply list, plans, and instructions for the porta potty.

Supplies needed:

One 4’x 4’ piece of plywood

Four 8 foot 2”x2” pieces of wood to frame (each cut in half to make 8 4foot 2” x 2” boards)

Drill for drilling drainage holes in the plywood with a 1/8 or ¼ drill bit

2 dozen 3inch nails

2 rolls of sod (I purchase mine at Home Depot)



Instructions (about 30 minutes to complete):

1. Construct a frame using four 4’ 2”x 2” pieces of lumber. (I bought four 8Foot 2” x 2” boards and cut them in half).

2. Then put the 4 foot plywood board on top of the 2x2’s and nail the plywood to that 2x2 frame. This acts as a base to hold the plywood sheet.

3. Drill holes randomly in the plywood (use about a 1/8 or ¼ inch drill bit). These holes will be large enough to drain for weather conditions (rain and melting snow) and for watering the potty. I drilled about 12 random holes in the plywood.

4. Put the remaining four 4’ 2” x 2” pieces of lumber at each end on top of the 4x4 plywood (this acts as a top frame to hold the sod in place) and nail them to the plywood board.

5. Place 2 rolls of sod into the frame (You’ll probably need to trim the sod to make them fit on the plywood board).

6. The potty is completed and ready for use.


I built my potty eight years ago and replace the sod twice per year. It has held up well and I have not had to build another for my dog. It is used almost daily during the winter months. It has less use in the summer, but it comes in handy for middle of the night usage. The potty gets watered during the summer months and resembles a grassy area. No watering in the winter, but it weathers with the season to brownish, dormant grass.

Once complete, you can be very creative in designing a special area for your dog to do its job. Install a fence around the potty, place a name plate on the potty, and even strategically place flowered pots around the area.

I am a female with no carpenter skills and made the porta potty when I got my dog eight years ago. I realized I was in trouble when 2 feet of snow the first winter seemed like a mountain for my dog to climb plus she could not tolerate the cold and something had to be done.

The following spring, I built the portable potty and trained my dog to ring a bell to go outside. It has served us both well. As she ages, I am even happier that she uses it because at times she needs to go outside during the night. Mine is located on an open roofed porch. I just open the door and let her out with minimal sleep interruption. She is safe and does not wander off in the dark.


My dog on dormant sod after winter use
My dog on dormant sod after winter use

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    • brackenb profile image

      brackenb 5 years ago

      What a good idea.