Your best potty training friend is your crate. When you cannot watch your puppy, use a crate. Think of the crate the same way you think of a playpen for a human child. Even if you are only leaving the room for a minute, either take the puppy with you or use the crate. Crate training can be fun for the puppy if you make it a positive experience. The den is an integral part of the wild dog's upbringing and safety zone. The same thing applies to the crate. Giving the pup special treats is a great way to introduce him to his crate. The only time the puppy receives these special treats is when he is in the crate. The treats become associated with the crate. Use the crate wisely. Don't crate only when you are leaving the house. Place the puppy in the crate while you are home as well. Use it as a safezone, or use it for time-outs.
By crating when you are home and while you are gone, the puppy becomes comfortable in the crate and not worried that you will not return, or that you are leaving him/her alone. This helps to eliminate separation anxiety later in life.
Most puppies will not soil their den. The first couple of attempts you might have some accidents, but don't be discouraged.
An easy way to avoid accidents during the night for the first few weeks is by following this routine:
If the crate is too large, the pup can easily soil on one side and sleep on the other. The way to prevent this is to buy a crate that will accommodate your pet when it is fully grown with a divider, or get a box that will fit inside tightly on one side of the crate. The box should be large enough that there is only room for the puppy to stand, stretch, and lie down comfortably. As the puppy grows, provide more room. If the puppy messes in the crate several times, go back to the point at which the puppy was reliable, and just give the pup a little more time to learn. In conjunction with crate training, potty training starts immediately. Whenever you remove the puppy from the crate or just want the puppy to go potty, take the dog to the door that will always be used to go outside. Use the same door throughout the training period. It is always helpful to take the puppy to the same area to eliminate.
You can watch for the puppy to go to the door, or, on the handle of this door, tie a bell to a string, dropping it evenly with the height of the puppy's nose. When you bring the puppy to the door, lure the puppy to touch the bell with either its nose or paw (using a treat), causing the bell to ring. After the puppy rings the bell, give it the treat – use a small piece of meat or dried liver – and say "outside" in a happy tone of voice. Take the puppy outside on a leash if the puppy wants to play instead of eliminating. During housebreaking, do not allow the pup outside to eliminate alone or loose in the yard. You go outside also.
Give the puppy plenty of time. Don't rush him. When the puppy urinates or defecates, praise the puppy and, again, give the puppy a treat. Go back inside, stop at the door again, and treat once again. If the puppy does not potty, even after staying outside 10 minutes, return back inside, place the puppy back into the crate, wait 10 minutes, and start again from the beginning. If done religiously, this training process should take only about two (2) weeks for the puppy to understand. Be patient and this method will work. Know that you are training your new puppy good house manners.