The best way to avoid accidents is to keep your new pet in their crate anytime you are not home, sleeping, or unable to keep an eye on them. Dogs do not like to go potty in their personal space, so when they are in the crate they generally will hold their urine. For tips on crate training please see my previous blog post: Crate Training a New Dog.
Every time you let your dog out of the crate the first thing you want to do is take them straight outside to go potty. When they go potty outside reward them with praise “Good boy/girl!”, affection (pet them/scratch a favorite spot on them), and reward them with a treat as well. This teaches your dog that when they go potty outside they get rewarded, and this will condition them to only want to go potty outside.
For speedier potty training results I recommend using a high value treat that your dog ONLY receives when he/she goes potty outside. Some examples of a high value treat include: hot dog, lunch meat, boiled chicken. Keep in mind that the size of the treat doesn’t matter, so keep the treats small. I usually cut a standard size hot dog into about 80 pieces.
If your dog does have an accident inside do not punish them. Dogs only have a memory recall of a few seconds, so they will not understand what they are getting in trouble for, making the punishment useless. Additionally punishment can deeply harm a new dog’s relationship with you, causing trust issues that result in behavioral problems.
If you catch your new pet in the act of peeing in the house pick him/her up immediately and take them straight outside. Walk them around for a little while outside, and if they go potty outside reward them for it. If they are too big to be picked up try calling them to the door so you can take them outside. If they go potty outside reward them.
Potty training can be an excellent bonding activity for you and your new dog. Just remember that the keys to potty training are consistency, appropriate rewards, and most of all patience.