There are so many resources to tell you about housebreaking a puppy. I'm sure you've heard it all before. But in an effort to make this a one stop shopping website in terms of information in the care of your Sheltie, I will add these suggestions.
IF you're home all day long, the old fashioned way of housebreaking is a very credible way to go. But it takes persistence and patience because puppies are quick to leave a deposit.
Being home means you have the opportunity to actively participate in the process. So, when do you take a pup out to go to the bathroom?
When he first wakes up in the morning..... (when he wakes up, which is usually before you would want to wake up). No, don’t wait to get dressed or brush your teeth or start the coffee or anything else. Have your jacket and slippers ready to go, right next to your bed and go out NOW, NOW, NOW! Or you will miss your opportunity to have him pee outside.
Usually puppies won’t pee or poo while you hold them. So in the beginning, carrying them gives you a better chance of making it to the great outdoors without an accident.
What other times?
Take him out when he wakes up in the middle of the night. Just a quick trip out and back.
About 5 to 15 minutes after he has eaten.
After he has had a play session.
Right before going to bed for the night.
Every hour when nothing is going on.
In other words, your life is all about potty! (Ain't it grand??) I'd say that housebreaking is more time consuming than most other training aspects.
I am hopeful that we are well beyond the technique of rubbing a pup's nose in his urine or poo, but I will state here and now in order to be perfectly clear: DO NOT RUB YOUR SHELTIE’S NOSE IN URINE PUDDLES if he has an accident.
This technique is useless in housebreaking a puppy. It may be more effective to rub YOUR nose in it, since it is YOUR mistake, not the pup's. Remember, YOU are supposed to be the smarter one in this relationship.
He has no clue what you are trying to tell him. Seriously, how does he know you are not telling him never to pee again, anywhere?
I like to tell the pup, “potty, potty” while he relieves himself and then praise him when he’s done, either verbally or with a small treat. If you are into clicker training you could click and treat the behavior. That way, eventually when he hears the word “potty” he will go on cue.
Go out with your pup so you know he is, in fact, relieving himself.
Eventually, he will gain enough bladder control and learn to consider your entire residence the “clean den” area.
However, if he has the run of the place before you can train him, he won’t hold it that long. He will go anytime he has the urge. If he were confined in a small crate he would try to hold it, but again, his young bladder can only do so much.
While I understand your desire to give your new baby all the room in the world to wander and play, in the beginning, it is a bad idea. It will give you more work, it will prolong the housebreaking portion of his training and it will set him up for failure. Bringing a new puppy home involves time and patience.
You can also combine this with the passive way of housebreaking in the area in which you have confined him.
Confining him to an area you have direct sight of is best unless you are willing and able to follow him around constantly waiting for him to squat.
I’d write more, but I gotta go pee……