Puppies and house training may seem daunting but preparedness is the key. Having brought many a pup into our home over the years we have finally gotten it down to what works.
#1...Puppies that are 8 weeks old have to go potty a lot. That means that for the first couple of nights you will need to take them out at least twice. They'll let you know...did you hear the whimper? Get up! Put your slippers and robe on and whisk them to the lawn.
#2...Make sure you have a crate for them to sleep in at night. Keep them confined in this and they will not soil it. They don't want to sleep in their soil! After those first few nights they will start sleeping longer and you will have to get up less times. Tucker was sleeping from 10:00 PM till 6:00 AM by one week. Yes!
#3...Have a puppy pen in addition to the crate. I keep the crate in our bedroom and the puppy pen in the kitchen which is on tile floor. If you have a floor you are concerned might stain, use a round plastic table cloth that covers the entire area under the puppy pen with flocked backing on it (not the cheap ones that are just plastic). The pen can hold his bed and some space for romping in. Oddly enough he has not even soiled in that space. I bought puppy pads thinking that if he went in the pen he would hopefully do it on them. Tucker just wanted to chew the pad so I stopped using them on day 3. A waste of 20 bucks since I bought the larger package.
#4...Take them out often. Every time they have played for awhile, before they eat, after they eat, after they drink, after they wake up...take them out often and you won't have to clean up after them. Really! We go to the same area on our back lawn. This is especially important to establish from the beginning. Every accident that Tucker has had my husband and I blame ourselves. We didn't take him out when we should have.
#5...Have a word or phrase for when you want him/her to go to the bathroom in their place. I have been using the phrase "Do your business!". I also have used "Go potty!" as well. Praise them when they have gone. Let them know how proud you are of them!
#6...At the beginning carry them out. Don't expect them to walk outside and not pee on your floor. They will. We are now at almost 3 weeks of having him in his new home (he is almost 11 weeks old) and most of the time Tucker can walk (run!) outside with his soon-to-be buddy Stewie. In the morning I carry him out from his crate since it is dark and I am still sleepy. I am teaching him on the return inside the house to "Go to the kitchen!" and he does! He runs right in...well a few times he got distracted, but most times he runs right in.
#7...In our kitchen we have two inside openings. One we can close off because it has a door but the other is the entrance to the kitchen. My husband has rigged up a gate that swings across that opening. After Tucker has peed / and or pooped he gets the freedom to hang out in the whole kitchen with us (not alone yet)! He loves this as he has room to really run around and play. He scatters toys everywhere to his hearts content. We watch him because he is still a pup and has to earn this privilege of being in the full room. Every 1/2 hour we run outside or if he has been playing real hard.
#8...We also have a sliding screen door and a deck that is fully enclosed (about 20 feet off the ground). We have a kitty / doggy door and taught Tucker to use this in one weekend. He really likes to run in and out. Constantly. Same deal as the privilege of the kitchen with the rules. Now he has made some boo-boos with accidents without me getting to him in time so I may have to limit the door access. Then again with winter coming the door will be removed anyway so it won't be an issue.
#9...Feed them at the same time every day. Right now Tucker is fed at first thing in the morning, 12 noon and 5 o'clock. Feed in the same place. If I will be out for more than 1 hour I will leave a small half filled bowl of water in his puppy pen. I don't like to leave one in their all the time as he just makes a mess with it. He always is given time to drink water as I have a large dog water container in my kitchen for our kitties and Stewie. Feed a high quality food. There stools will be smaller and better formed. They won't go all the time either. I am feeding Blue Buffalo now and am very happy with it. Tucker loves it!
#10...Don't let your pup have the run of your house until they have been consistent at going outside. They need to earn this reward. Try bringing them to other rooms either on a leash with some toys and a blanket and keep an eye on them. Take them out often...every 1/2 hour. If your room is fully enclosed and you are willing to get up and take them out often they will really feel special being with you in a "new" place with your full attention. Don't expect house training to be fully done for many months. Some breeds are slower and some are faster. You want them to be good. If you find that accidents are happening too much step back and restrict their space.
#11...Be patient and consistent. Praise them for being a good puppy when they go outside. Better to take them out often than to clean up a mess. I keep a container of Green Works Wipes in my kitchen to wipe on the floor after I have cleaned an accident up with paper towels. Just don't let your puppy lick this. Dry it with another paper towel.
Good luck and before you know it they will be fully house trained!