One thing is for sure: your puppy will mess in the house. You have to expect it, it’s part of being a puppy.
Anticipation is therefore the Golden Rule. When a puppy is very young, take him out ten or fifteen times a day. At this stage you must think for the puppy and take him straight out as soon as you see him circling, sniffing the ground or looking agitated. He should also go out after meals and when he wakes up.
It’s no good shoving him out in the garden on a cold December night and expecting him to do the right thing. You need to go out with him and keep him company. When he does it, praise him lavishly. This teaches him that it is right to do it in the garden.
If you have failed to anticipate in the house, but catch him in the act, say ‘no’ firmly, and move him swiftly outside where you can praise him for his good behaviour. There’s no point in reprimanding your puppy (or untrained rescue dog) if you failed to anticipate his need to go outside. You must simply clear up the mess and resolve to be more alert next time.
Overnight, there will be accidents, so just make sure they happen somewhere that is easily cleaned up. Don't tell your puppy off - he can't help it at that age, and as he grows he will be able to get further and further through the night until he’s fine to wait until morning.
Punishment is destructive when toilet training. If you must rub someone’s nose in it, make it your own.
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