When you get a new puppy, housebreaking is generally at the top of the "to do" list. Teaching little Rover or Roverette that your new carpet is not her personal toilet is job one. How quickly your new pup is housebroken depends a lot more on your behavior than on her learning ability. The key is to know the times when a puppy has to "go." Puppies always need to go outside after they wake up in the morning or from a nap, after eating, after playtime, and before bedtime at night. Given the activities of the average puppy day, you can probably surmise that they need to go out a LOT. Although it may seem like you’re endlessly taking your pup outside, a preventive approach is the most effective way to housebreak a puppy.
The other key to housebreaking is using a crate. When used correctly, a crate can make the whole housebreaking task go a lot more quickly. A dog has a natural instinct not to soil any area where it sleeps or eats. If your dog sleeps in a crate, this instinct for cleanliness will be an impetus for her to "hold it" until you can take her outside. For those who don’t know, a crate is simply a cage or sky kennel that’s large enough for the puppy to turn around, but not so large that she can relieve herself in one corner and go sleep in another.
Your job as owner is to get the dog outside when she needs to go. So when you see puppy finish her dinner, snap on a leash and take her outside. Always take her to the same area and use some command such as "hurry up" or "go potty." Once your puppy has done what she’s there to do, praise her and take her inside. If she doesn’t, take her inside and put her in her crate for a while, so you can keep an eye on her until you are ready to take her out again in about 20 minutes. Note that you should NEVER use the crate as punishment and puppies should never spend more than a couple of hours in the crate at a time, except while sleeping at night.
Next…how to deal with housebreaking when you have a full-time job.