This review is about the larger sized (2 'x 4' grass area), Standard Porch Potty, purchased for my father's dog. They sell another model called the Porch Potty Premium, which is the same thing, only with pop-up sprinklers. I use a watering can, and it works just as well.
It shipped with both the drain hose and catch basin, as well as with a little fire hydrant and an instruction booklet. I also opted for the training Sod at 40% off with the idea that it would make training a dog who was used to going potty outdoors a little easier.
The shipment arrived in two boxes, one very large box with the plastic base, synthetic grass, drain hose, catch basin and instruction booklet. The second box, which was pretty heavy, contained the real sod. The base is in one piece, so there is no assembly required. Set-up was as simple and quick as it takes to unpack the box, put the catch basin under the hole in the center of the base and roll out the sod – just a few minutes.
Unfortunately, the sod arrived in poor condition. It was green around the bridges, but beyond that it was brown and limp. I tried watering it and waiting a few days for it to spring back, but it was pretty much dead. I contacted Porch Potty's Customer Care about the problem and they quickly responded, sending out a new piece of sod.
The problem with the sod lies in the shipping, as it takes about 5 days to get to South Florida. It had shipped on a Monday and did not make it here until late Friday, so it sat in a UPS Hub until Monday. I am sorry to say that the second shipment of days were exactly the same, so we received another piece of wilted, basically dead sod. I inquired about a faster shipping method than Standard Ground service, but was told that it would cost approximately $ 80, which is out of the question for a piece of grass.
Since I was training an older dog who was used to going potty outside, I tried to work with the sod since it smelled like the outdoors. The dog (a Scottie mix about 25 lbs) jumped right up on it, sniffed around and lied down like it was a new bed! I worked with her for about two weeks, even using the leash like we were going for a real walk, but nothing would get her to do her business on the new potty. I tried using a toilet training attractant so that she might get the idea that it was okay to go pee there, but that also failed with this dog. I tried both the half dead sod and the synthetic grass, but neither worked.
So, in order to determine if it was the product, or the dog, I decided to bring the Porch Potty over to my patio to use on my Pug. She has been trained to go on newspaper inside when the weather is bad, as well as going outside. Before throwing away the sod, I decided to give it one more try. After taking my dog to the porch, it took less than 5 minutes for her to go pee on the Porch Potty. She took to it instantly!
The next test was to see if she would go on the synthetic grass – since getting grass in good condition seems to be out of the question. She did not hesitate to go on the synthetic grass either!
To sum up the good and bad sides to this product, in my opinion:
The good –
The size is larger than any other I could find (small dogs like room too).
The drainage system is nice – even the catch basin is large and sturdy.
The synthetic turf was nice and soft, with pre-punched drain holes.
It is very easy to clean.
The bad –
The base is a bit flimsy towards the middle, so I do not see it working well for a 120 pound dog (as they claim). The 25 lb dog I tried it on got a little spooked when walking over the middle, however my 15 lb dog was just fine.
The real training sod is on the expensive side, and may not arrive in the best condition depending on where you live in the US
The price seems a little high for what you get. It would have been very upsetting to spend that kind of money and not have it work out. I am just glad I purchased it for one dog, knowing mine would probably take to it if it did not work out.
The fire hydrant seemed small and a bit silly. Since this was not tested on a male dog, I am not sure how it would work out.