Gosh, there are sooooo many answers to this question! All of it, of course, depends on your particular dog and your particular situation.
I have a favorite site that I go to for answers and I went to it and put a search word "housebreaking" and these are the results...I think they will more than answer your concerns, but I am also certain that you will get some good advice from the archives of this forum as well as replies from other owners...good luck, it is not always easy, but is one of the most rewarding hurdles to get over! http://www.veterinarypartner.com/Content.plx
Having just gone through the first 2 weeks with my pup and this is my 4th puppy I do have a few general tips that have always worked for me. In fact I have had my pups going to the door to go out after about 1-2 weeks of having them home.
Keep them in a smaller partitioned area of the house where they can see and use the door that leads them to their potty area. Plan to live in this small space with your pup for at least the first 2 weeks.
Monitor their pee and poo schedule. Know how long it is after eating that they will need to go out.
For the first week or so, you are the trained one. You have to use a phrase like "need to go out?" and pick them up and take them to their potty area. I use a small temporary fenced pen that is about 16 by 20 feet.
Lots of praise during the actual "event".
Bring them in immediately after going. The outside is not a play area. Avoid doing anything in the potty area other than going potty.
Always use the same door to go out.
Do not be tempted to open up your house space too soon. They need to be very near the outside door and you need to be able to supervise at all times when they are free to roam around.
I am using a crate for the first time because I work part time now. I only really use it at night and when I am at work. The rest of the time I have devoted to direct supervision. Occasionally I will use it during nap time so I can get a shower and maybe clean my house a bit... LOL
Hope this helps. I have my first labradoodle after having 3 goldens and she seems to be the smartest in terms of potty training. Good luck and know that if you spend a lot of time during the first few weeks it pays off in potty training.
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