Purchase a roll of plastic carpet runner. You can find 5 foot rolls at KMart, Walmart or most hardware and home improvement stores. Be sure you purchase the runner that has the "gripping teeth" on the underside of it to help it remain secure on the flooring. This runner is normally used for high-traffic areas of your home to protect the carpet from wear and dirt. It also makes an excellent waterproof foundation that you can cut to size in any configuration to fit the area you need protected. Another plus is that you can also wash it, as needed.
Next, purchase a supply of towels from a dollar store or resale shop like the Salvation Army stores. Put the towels on the top of the carpet runner and launder when dirty.
Still want to use potty pads? Go to Ebay where you can purchase them in bulk that are far less expensive than the local pet store. Search terms are, "potty pads" or "incontinence pads" or "puppy pads" - and be sure to compare several sellers for price difference and delivery times.
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Here are questions related to Making Homemade Piddle Pads.
What I use for waterproof backing is a laminated polyester fabric that is used for making cloth diaper covers. It is a little more $ but washes up better than a cheap tablecloth or shower curtain and can handle the heat from the dryer. It will last longer too. You can buy laminated polyester on ebay and etsy.com For the top of the piddle pad you could use microfiber which is suppose to be absorbent or use good ole cotton towel.