Potty Training

Do not use potty pads unless absolutely necessary. Potty pads will inhibit potty training. It is confusing for them because it feels like a thin carpet, so they can’t tell the difference between going potty on the pad or on your carpet/rugs. If you have to be gone longer than they can hold it then use a litter tray with litter (alfalfa pellets-they smell like grass which reinforces going on grass), or even a small piece of sod/real grass placed in a shallow pan. There are companies that actually deliver grass patches to your house. Rule of thumb is that a puppy can hold it for one hour longer than their age in months. I.E. if a puppy is two months old then they can hold it for three hours, if they are three months old then they can hold it for four hours etc. (given of course they have been to the bathroom before being in their crate/playpen) This rule only applies for during the day. During the night they can hold it much longer because their bladder becomes inactive just like human bladders do. Taking away water and food a couple hours before bed helps them hold it longer through the night.

During the night you might have to take them out once or twice, for a couple of weeks.  But within a couple weeks they should be able to go 8 hours at night without going potty.  If you take them out during the night make it very businesslike, straight out to potty, then straight back in the crate, don’t let it turn into playtime. Or you can just set up a litter box outside their crate at night, leave the door open, and put a gate around it so they only have room to use their litter box and go back into their crate.  Or get a large crate that will hold their bed and litter box.  Or use a playpen and section off just an area for their bed and litterbox.  Then you don’t have to get up during the night.

Always take them outside to potty during the day. 

Consistency is the key. Take them out first thing when they wake up from sleeping/naps,  after eating or drinking,  before bed or going in their crate etc.  If they don’t go to the bathroom but you think they will need to, then put them back in their crate for 15 minutes, then take them out and try again.

If you have a fenced yard I highly recommend getting a doggie door, it makes it so much easier.  If you don’t have a doggie door then consider bell training so that your puppy can tell you when he needs to go outside to potty. Your dog needs to have a way to let  you know when he needs to go.  

Keep your eye on your puppy at all times until they are potty trained, that way you can recognize when they need to go to the bathroom so that you can take them out right away and praise them when they go outside, you can also prevent accidents in the house.  Some people like to “tether” their new puppy, if they are out of their crate keep them on a leash secured to your belt so that they can’t sneak off and have an accident. When they need to go to the bathroom they will put their nose to the ground and start sniffing frantically in circles. 

When cleaning up accidents don’t use anything with ammonia-it smells like urine to them and will make them want to go potty there again.  Use a cleaner that has enzymes to break down the smell.  
There are lots of books and online articles about potty training.