When getting a new dog, especially a puppy, one of the most important things to do is to establish boundaries. This is especially important in terms of potty training. There are many different ways to potty train; however, one of the most effective ways is by using a crate. For this, you will want to find a crate that your dog can grow into, particularly if your dog is still a puppy. Knowing approximately how big your dog will get is very important. As a puppy, you will be able to limit the amount of room that your dog has in the crate. Many vets and dog trainers advise using crate training as the most effective and easiest strategy, one which your pet will be able to readily understand. Dogs are very picky about where they sleep, and as a rule will not go to the bathroom near their sleeping area. With a crate, the area that they are in is essentially purely a sleeping space.
If you are opposed to crate training, there are alternatives, like puppy pads, that can assist in potty training. Keep in mind that what you are trying to do is establish that going to the bathroom in the house is wrong and going outside the house is right. Puppy pads could muddle the point of the training, meaning it could take longer to get the idea across to your dog. However, dogs have been successfully potty trained without crates for decades; it simply requires more owner vigilance. Check the Internet and your local dog trainers for proven strategies and techniques.
It is not a bad idea to have several crates around the house. Keep them in places where your dog will be able to see you, as dogs are very social animals. One in the living area and one in your bedroom should suffice. Never put your dog in the crate as punishment if it has an accident in the house. This will make the dog dislike the crate. Crate training is designed to teach your dog how to wait to potty until it is time. It is also important to keep your dog on a regular schedule for bathroom breaks. For puppies, within 10 minutes of a meal or a drink of water is good. As adults, 20 minutes after their breakfast and once or twice in the evening should work.
Keep your dog in the crate while you are at work and at night while you sleep. Keep your dog occupied with some of its favorite toys. A blanket or dog pad will keep the dog warm and comfortable while in the crate. Make sure that you maintain a strict regimen of walks and bathroom breaks while crate training your dog. It is also important to utilize positive reinforcement during this training. Do not punish the pet for going in the crate. Instead, reward it with treats and praise when it goes to the bathroom outside. A crate that breaks down for cleaning will make it easier to remove accidents during the training period.
Crate Training by By Robin Kovary, with Barbara Giella, American Dog Trainers Network
Crate Training, Unattributed, The Human Society of the United States, Oct. 2009
Crate Training a Puppy at Night by Yvette Marie, The Daily Puppy, Sept. 2011