1. Keep your puppy on a leash with you during the potty training phase—ideally, in a space that’s his, whether it’s a kennel, a bed, or a pen. When he looks like he’s starting to think about relieving himself, say your word of choice (“potty” is a popular one), then quickly take him to the pad and let him do his business.
2. Success? Praise, praise, praise for a job well done with plenty of positive reinforcement.
3. Not so successful? Lay off the yelling and take him to the pad, instead. The goal here is to stay away from instilling fear in your dog, which might confuse him and make him think it’s OK to relieve himself in the wrong place—just as long as you’re not around.
4. Stick to a schedule. Most dogs eat twice a day: in the morning and in the evening. Set food out, wait 15 minutes, and regardless of how much or little he ate, take it away and let him out (or say the magic “potty?” word). The idea is to get on a potty schedule to make accidents less of an issue.
5. Teach the difference between the floor and the pad. When you’re not there to watch your puppy’s every move, keep your dog in a closed-off room, such as the bathroom or the laundry room, with food, water, toys, and bedding, and place potty pads across the entire floor. Do this for a few days, then take away one of the pads. In a few days, take away another one. The idea? To train Fido to prefer the pad over the floor.
6. Take regular trips to the potty pad every few hours, and simply wait for him to go. After eating, after naps, after playing—just go! Put him on a leash, give him some privacy, and praise him generously when he goes.
7. Practice makes perfect! The more you practice (repeating steps if necessary) and the more you reward positive behavior, the more likely you are to have a fully potty trained dog.