Potty training is usually one of the first things a puppy will learn, and sometimes, the most irritating to teach. Teaching this early on will save you a lot of headache later on. This takes time, consistency, and patience. We start teaching this early, by using puppy pads and encouraging the puppies to go on them. After feeding your puppy, either take them outside within 15 minutes or keep an eye on the puppy and as soon as you see signs; circling, wandering around with nose to the floor, get the puppy and place him on a pad.
In either case, pet the puppy and use a happy tone of voice to reward him for using the bathroom in the right spot.
If the puppy doesn't use the bathroom on the pad, pick him up immediately and place him on the pad or put him outside.
Timing is crucial to reward and discipline. You can not come home from work and scold the puppy if he has gone to the bathroom on the floor. He will have no clue why he's getting in trouble and will not associate the scolding with anything.
Rewards and discipline need to occur within 15 seconds of the behavior. Any longer than that and the dog will not associate the good behavior with the reward or the bad behavior with the punishment.
You can also use a verbal cue, like "Go potty" before putting the puppy on the pad or putting him outside.
When your puppy is young, their bladders are very small so they need to potty frequently throughout the day. Key times to place them near a pad or take them outside are when they first wake up, after drinking, after eating, and before bed. Until they are a little older it's unlikely they will make it through the night without having to use the bathroom. Kenneling the puppy at night or during the day when you are gone can speed up the potty training process but be sure the puppy has a pad to use.
Rubbing the puppy's face in his own stool or urine is not an effective punishment. A better way to discipline the puppy is to raise your voice slightly and say NO! and put the puppy where you want him to do his business. A positive reinforcement, or reward, works much better than a negative reinforcement.
Potty training may take a few weeks, but the more time you put in and can be there to put the puppy on the pad or take him outside, the faster he will learn where to do his business.
*If your puppy is completely potty trained and normally doesn't have accidents, and suddenly starts having accidents inside, it may have a urinary tract infection. Anything out of the normal for your pet is a good reason to see a vet.*