Potty training a puppy does not have to be complicated. Your fur-baby's instincts and habits can help you get control of the situation. But you must be very patient and very observant to make these instincts work for you.
Certain behaviors will alert you that puppy needs to go, so watch for sniffing, squatting, or whining. When you see that Princess needs to go, leash her and take her outside immediately to the place that you want her to use. Don't acknowledge her at all. Simply walk back and forth in that area until she does her business. Do not play or allow her to run around. She's there to poop and pee, nothing more.
When she's done her business, give her some praise and a small treat. Keep these treats by the door so you can grab a few on your way out. After the treat, she's free to roam or play or go back inside if she wants. She's earned it. Take Princess out at regular intervals, from every 15 minutes to every hour, depending on her age, breed, and training.
You may take her out several times when nothing happens. That's ok. She's still learning, and returning her to the same spot might trigger the urge to go.
If you discover an 'accident' after it happened, then you'll need to watch the puppy even more closely. You may want to close doors and put up baby gates to keep her in the same room so you can watch her.
Another useful instinct is that dogs do not poop or pee in the same place where they sleep. If you cannot keep a close eye on your pooch during this training period, then it might help to crate her while you're away. Use a crate with just enough room to stand up, turn around, and lie down. If there's too much room, Princess might use one corner for her bathroom and another corner for her bedroom. When you return, you should take her outside leash, treats, and all to do her business. She may have been holding it for a while! Use the crate only for sleeping or times you're away. Don't use it for punishment.
If you live in an apartment or condo, where it's difficult to go outdoors, then puppy pads can serve as a temporary solution while you're indoors. Still, it's important to get outdoors for exercise and socializing daily, if possible. Use these times to teach Princess to poop outdoors so you can slowly remove the pee pads. When you're cleaning up the pee pads, leave a small piece to remind Princess that this is the place to go.
Keep a log of this training period so you can recognize specific patterns and make adjustments as you go. Be understanding, be flexible, and be patient! There is no set timeline for puppy toilet training. It can take days or weeks, but when it's over, you'll have a furry friend that you can enjoy spending time with, and you can trust her to control herself!
It's worth it!