Punishing a dog (puppy or adult) for an "accident" does not work!
Positive reinforcement for correct behavior is the best way to develop and control your dog's education. Here are a few suggestions to speed up the house-training process:
* Plan potty times. Puppies have a tendency to eliminate right after playing, eating, sleeping, and drinking. Plan potty times to correspond with these activities. When playing outdoors, have a treat ready when the puppy eliminates.
* Control food and water intake--what goes in must come out! Regular feeding means semi-regular elimination.
* Select the best-quality food and stick with it. Many low-end foods contain fillers and increase the number of eliminations per day. Sudden changes in diet should also be avoided.
* Use an airline carrier or kiddy gate to confine the puppy in your absence. A crate can be used or abused. Long confinements (more than eight hours) may cause the puppy to eliminate in the crate. If you use a laundry room or bathroom for confinement, you can avoid paper-training by using grass-training: get a shallow oil-drip pan at an auto-supply store and put a piece of grass sod in it; change as needed. By using grass, you'll have an easier transition to outdoor elimination.
* Use food treats for correct elimination. This is probably the most powerful and least-used house-training tool.
* Set up a potty ritual. Use the same door each time you go outside. Go to the same area of the yard. Wait patiently and quietly while the puppy eliminates. Say "Good dog!" at the end of the sequence. Do not interrupt the puppy with lots of encouragement. Once the pattern starts to become predictable, start saying, "Hurry up" or "Go potty" just before you think the dog is about to go. Wait until it finishes, then say "Good dog!" and deliver the treat.
* Gradually allow the dog more responsibility. Begin by taking the puppy to the potty area and remaining there until it eliminates. Gradually allow the puppy to go part of the way by itself. Soon the puppy will be able to do the routine alone. Make sure your dog eliminates--if not, you can expect a surprise indoors later. Be willing to get up during the night. If your puppy is less than 3 months of age, expect to get up to let it out. The alternative is to let the puppy eliminate where it sleeps, prolonging house-training.
* Do not punish accidents, or your puppy will be afraid to eliminate in your presence. Instead, it will go in your absence and be afraid to eliminate outdoors while you hover.
* Let the puppy grow up. Until it is 5 or 6 months old, its muscles are incapable of controlling elimination like an adult's can. If you can cut down on the number of accidents in the meantime, the dog will soon be mature enough to control itself.