Personally, I like to train pups to go outside. Crate training is the most successful method of house training for most people. Clean-up for me is minimal since I live rurally and have seven acres of land. However, sometimes the little ones do better with indoor training because they often can't wait for you to let him out because of small bladders. But a pup that will be over five or six pounds at maturity really should be able to learn to go outside if you are home to do the initial training.
Though we will primarily address training your pup to go outside, this concept can work for a number of training/potty places. Some people who live in apartments and condos often like to bring the outdoors inside: http://www.freshpatch.com/order/ I have even known people to make their own version of a potty yard or Fresh Patch with sod and a plastic box. This could be put on your balcony or in the apartment. This method also applies to the puppy apartment idea http://modernpuppies.com/onepaymentdiscount.aspx. Those who have smaller breeds or apartments may also choose Wee Pads, the Potty Patch https://pottypatch.com/ or Potty Park http://www.pottypark.com/store/ Litter box training is another option for smaller breeds and apartments. http://isabellasnow.hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Litter-Box-Train-Your-Puppy Just don’t use the clumpable or clay litter because it will clump to their hair and be a mess to get out. Also be mindful that pups will tend to eat about everything, so the litter material needs to be natural and safe.
The other thing to consider when deciding where your potty place is, is if he will be traveling with you and if he will be comfortable going somewhere else. A pup that learns to go outside will most likely be comfortable going on about any grassy area. You can put a marker like a utility flag or plastic cone (like one used for driving tests or obstacle courses) on his outside potty place to accustom him to having it there. When you travel, simply take the flag, stake it in the ground, and he will know that is his place. Wee Pads are easy to travel with and can be laid on any surface. Some of the other portable potty places can be taken on trips. You will just have to decide if it is worth the bother.
The main thing to remember is to be consistent with whatever one place you choose. Though some pups will be able to potty in two places, most will get confused. If you try two places (i.e. Wee Pad and outdoors) he could also likely get confused. (Now, saying that isn’t to say that you can’t redirect and teach an older pup or dog a new way. You may be able to, but it also may be difficult to retrain.) The other thing to consider is that whatever you use, it needs to work while you are not at home – at least eventually.
A new pup will generally need to relieve himself about every two hours. Tiny ones may need to go every hour or so. That will increase about an hour for every month they are old - on average – until they are about eight months old. Smaller, toy size pups will not mature that fast, and larger, standard size pups will generally mature quicker. T-cups may never be able to "hold it" for more than two or three hours. Most toys, six to twelve pounds, should eventually learn to wait for six to eight hours. Miniature size dogs will be fine with eight hours, etc. One of my standard size dogs held it for over 20 hours one time – poor guy.
If your pup is eating and drinking fine through the day, he won’t need food and water at night. It should be fine to take the food and water up two hours before he is ready to go to his crate at night. It will, however, help to expedite potty training if you get up with your pup once during an eight hour period at night. By the time most pups are three to four months old, they should be able to go all night. You will see a marked difference in his control all the way around by the time he is 16 weeks old.
If you are travelling home with your pup, it is likely that he will have to "go" after the car ride. When you get home, take him to his spot. Make that the first place he puts his little feet - the first place he leaves his scent. If you are training your pup to go in the yard, only give him a small place, like a 3'x3' area. Don't allow him to run the yard or play. Just have him stand there for four to five minutes, and give the command – and again if and when he starts to squat.
Regardless of the place you choose for your pup to relieve himself, the main principles are the same:
1) Pick the place that you want your pup to learn to potty.
2) Take the pup to his potty spot every two hours. If choosing the yard, don't allow him to wander around the yard. Keep him in his potty place for 4-5 minutes - long enough for him to be bored enough to have nothing better to do than to relieve himself.
3) 3) Use a special word that they will associate with the command. That will come in handy in a time pinch in the future. My mother always said, “Hurry up!” You can use “Potty,” “Go pee!” or whatever. They will learn to associate the command with the action.
4) 4) Do not leave your pup without adult supervision. The reason for this goes far beyond teaching them to potty. You are preventing your pup from learning all bad habits, and here, prevention is your greatest friend. When you are supervising, you will be able to distract and redirect ANY behavior that is not acceptable. Trainers will tell you that pups are learning new behaviors for the first two years.
5) Put them in a small, bed size crate if you cannot watch them. They will try very hard not to potty in their crate.
If you are not going to be home long enough to take your new pup out every two hours, you need to consider getting someone to help with the training or providing an alternative training method. Many people with tiny pups or people who can't be home like Wee Pads or similar methods like the Potty Park http://www.pottypark.com/store/ or Potty Patch https://pottypatch.com/ . We can step outside of the actual crate training idea a bit with these tools. Though maybe not ideal, training a pup when you need to be gone all day is possible. You can put their potty space in an enclosed, small area, like a playpen or what would be called anexercise pen: http://pet-healthcare.revivalanimal.com/search?w=play%20pens&asug= The idea is to put the potty place (Wee Pad, Potty Patch, Potty Park, etc.) at one end of a small enclosed space and place his food, water, toys and bedding at the other end. Once his scent is on the designated potty place, he will likely naturally go there. The key word here is "likely." If you aren't home to direct him and watch him, this method may take longer. Again, this is the reason for constant adult supervision. But in reality, most adults don’t have that pleasure or freedom, so this revision can work: You can also use this concept in a small bath or utility room. Just be sure to put on your puppy hat on make it puppy safe, especially being mindful of not allowing your puppy to have access to chew on electric cords.
People frequently ask me how long potty training will take. That is like asking how long it takes to train a child. The length of time it takes will depend greatly on your diligence. The size of your pup will determine his ability. His breed will play a large part in his personality. His ability, your diligence, his personality and your personality will all factor into the ease of training. Just remember, the smaller the pup, the more patience you will likely need to have. Larger breed pups train a lot easier than small breeds. The bottom line, however, is that if you or someone is able to be with the pup for the majority of the day, you will be much more successful and training will "kick in" a lot faster.