Puppy Housebreaking for
Busy Professionals
You just arrived home with your canine bundle of joy. When you bring home a puppy, expect to work hard for a few months and earn a loyal companion for years to come. If you planned ahead, you gave yourself a weekend or even a whole week to acclimate your new puppy to your home before heading back to work. If you didn't, you may need some help, but you can do it! Since a puppy can only hold his bladder for a few hours, you'll want to hire a dog sitter during the day while you're at work.
Your puppy doesn't know that he's supposed to go to the bathroom outside, and it's you and your dog sitter's job to teach him. For the first month or so, it will require careful vigilance and a crate. Your puppy prefers not to eat or sleep where he eliminates, so get a crate that's just large enough for him to turn around in, but small enough that he can't eliminate in one corner and sleep in the other. As long as he can physically hold it, he will, and the more often you crate him, the stronger his bladder will grow.
Every time your puppy comes out of the crate, ask him if he wants to go "out" or "outside," and then take him out. Direct him on a leash to the same spot every time and issue the command to "potty." When he goes to the bathroom, repeat the word "potty" and give him a treat and lots of praise!
Your puppy is not born understanding words like "out" and "potty," so don't expect him to know what you're asking right away. Keep repeating the words every time he performs the actions, and he'll start to understand. Reinforce the command in your praise by saying, "Good potty!" If he refuses to go, take him back inside and immediately crate him. After several minutes, take him out again. Repeat the cycle until he goes.
Whatever you do, make sure you and your sitter do it consistently. With diligence, repetition, and constant praise, your puppy will start to understand that he's required to go outside, not in.