Yep, recommend crate training and you have to be very proactive about puppies. When I was potty training a golden retriever puppy I used to have, I would let no more than 2 hours pass between when I would take him out, and if I wasn’t there to take him out he was in his kennel. When you let a dog run around an entire room, they will designate some areas as potty areas and clean areas because there is a big enough space to do so. This is terrrrrrible for potty training them, because when you aren’t there there’s no one to scold them when they potty in the house. When you have them in a crate/kennel, they are in a confined area and most won’t pee on themselves, so it trains them to hold it. Then the second you get home you have to let it out of the kennel and take it potty, I guarantee they will go after being in the kennel a few hours. This gives you a great opportunity to praise them when they do go outside, and I mean, over do it. Act like you just won the lottery every time they potty or poo outside, dogs thrive on praise and they quickly learn that when they go outside and get a lot of attention from you, it is a pretty cool ordeal. Also, right after they do their business outside, reward them by playing with them for a while inside with toys, etc. Then, if you can’t keep an eye on them consistently, they should go back in the kennel for a nap until you can let them out again.
Trying to train to go oustide and also using puppy pads is not a good idea. This will just lead to confusion. Pick one or the other (teaching them to go outside is way easier and less messy, IMO). If you choose outside, then absolutely go with crate training. They won’t pee on themselves unless they are left in there for a very long time. Puppies should go no longer than 3-4 hours in a crate, including night time. If this means you need to have a friend/relative/dog-walker stop by to let your puppy out when you’re at work, then that’s kind of a necessary evil you have to do until they get older and have a bigger bladder.
A girl tried to argue with me one time that a crate is “cruel” and they should be able to walk/run around and “play” and have access to food and water when you aren’t there. This is absolutely not true and this led to a dog that peed and pooped ALLLL over her house, chewed things up all the time, etc. etc. A dog won’t play by itself if you aren’t there, it will lay down and sleep or chew on stuff because it is bored. Much better for them to do that in a kennel where they won’t go in the corner and pee/poop, and where you know your belongings are safe from harm and THEY are safe from eating something they shouldn’t (I know 2 people’s dogs that died after ingesting something while they were gone–so preventable by kenneling a dog!).
Puppies need to go out:-About 10 min after they eat. EVERY TIME. Don’t let them have free reign to eat however much they want all day, either. Make them eat a set amount of food when you put it out, or take it away. Offer it to them later and eventually they will get hungry and eat it and get on a feeding schedule. They should have fresh water at all times when you are there to supervise. If you have to leave for a few hours, they will do just fine in a kennel without water or food. -When they wake up from a nap. No play time until they potty. -Every few hours. If they are running around in the house and drinking water, I wouldn’t let more than 2 hours pass between potty times. -Right when they come out of the crate. If they don’t go, then they need to go back in the crate without playtime for about a half hour, then try again. They have to learn that going potty outside = good, and when I do I get to have play time. When I don’t, then I get no reward and have to go back in my kennel.
Also: Learn to watch for cues. If puppy is sniffing around or running off to go hide, they probably need to go out. Don’t let them out of your sight in the house, even if this means shutting doors to rooms and using baby gates to confine them to an area. Puppies learn quickly that they aren’t supposed to go in the house, but for some reason they don’t learn as quickly that they are supposed to ask to go outside. If they know they get scolded when they go in the house, they will start making a habit to run off and do it–under a bed, behind the couch, in an unoccupied bedroom, etc. If you can’t keep an eye on them, they should be in their kennel.
Puppies are a LOT of work!!! Especially a small breed like yours, they tend to be the most difficult to potty train. It takes A LOT of time and being consistent and proactive to get the job done. I know everyone has this idea in their head when they buy a puppy that it will be just perfect and you will play and cuddle all day long and potty training will be a breeze. As soon as you get that out of your head, in order to be truly successful with potty training, you have to be kind of a “mean parent” in the sense that puppy does not get to do whatever it wants until it knows how to ask how to go outside. This means puppy is only out of its crate after it has gone to the bathroom and you are supervising it. If they snooze on the floor or the couch, just make sure that you are watching like a hawk for them to wake up and then take them out right away, if they don’t go, then put them in their kennel.
Another thing I used with my puppy is a bell hung on the door, and every time we would go out to potty I would make him hit it with his paw. He learned quickly that this was how he signaled to go outside, which I think can be the most confusing part for puppies. They KNOW they are supposed to do their business outside, but a lot don’t just start barking or scratching on the door to go out.
Sorry for the novel. I will never get a puppy again because of how hard it is to potty train them. The dog I have now I adopted as an adult and he was already potty trained–thank God! I don’t envy you at all, but now that you’ve made a commitment you kind of just have to suck it up for a few months until the puppy figures it out. If not, you will end up with a little dog who pees and poops all over your house, that you can’t take anywhere without also being afraid it will do the same thing. Look all over the internet for advice on potty training/crate training, there is loads of free information out there.