This can be one of the most grueling aspects of those first couple weeks after bringing your new puppy home. Many people compare it to having a newborn baby, and I don't disagree. I have a couple tricks, and words or advise to help you that first month or two.
TIP #1 Buckle down and be prepared for frustration. Puppies are a LOT of work. All your patience will pay off 100X in the future. They just need some time and consistency to get it. So first and foremost have your head in the right place and don't expect overnight miracles.
TIP #2 Use a bell on any door your puppy will go out. Every single time you take your puppy out, say "let's go outside" pick up their puppy paw and bat the bell. Use whatever phrase your prefer, but keep it consistent. Do this every time and make sure every person in your home does as well. Again, consistency!
TIP #3 Treats. Always have a pocket full of treats! Treats that are only for potty training. I use something very small and soft. Often cutting the treats I buy into smaller pieces. You will use a lot of these. Give them out consistently, for every #1 & #2.
TIP #4 When you bring your puppy home you will be very excited to bring them inside and show them their new home. BUT, the first place you should take your puppy is the yard where they will do their business. Do not go inside until they go. They might go when their little feet hit the ground, it could take 20 minutes, it could take an hour. Be prepared to wait them out. Keep repeating a phrase of your choosing like "go potty", until they go. Say this phrase consistently, calmly, happily and every 15 seconds or so. Don't say it angry, and don't say it every 2 seconds. This should be a stress free situation for your puppy. When they finally go, you should praise like a crazy person and give a treat. Seriously, act like you won the lottery, because you kinda did.
TIP #5 After your new puppy goes potty for the first time you will need to bring them back out to go potty every 20 minutes they are awake. This is where consistency is the most critical, and if done correctly you will be tired and irritable. You should feel like your ALWAYS putting on your shoes and trying to "act" happy for your puppy. If they are asleep, let them sleep for the love of God. But if they are awake.... out every 20 minutes. Also every time they finish eating you should take them out. Many people would advise to also bring them out every time they have a drink, but these are labs, these are water dogs. My puppies seem to drink more than they breath. I have even had one fall asleep IN the water dish recently, the full water dish, so I don't find this tip realistic. It will be exhausting. Remember, the days are long, and years are fast. it will be over before you know it.
Tip #6 You will want to slowly begin to stretch out the 20 minute potty break times. My rule is after 2 solid days of NO ACCIDENTS I stretch that time out to 30 min. Then in 15 min increments after that. So, after 2 days of no accidents when puppy goes out at every 30 minutes, you move to out every 45 minutes and so on. I promise, you can be the most consistent, diligent person in the world, and you will still have accidents on this schedule. You just will, your better off if you expect them. If you have an accident, just keep it moving. Take care of it, and restart your 2 day clock. They will get it. I don't start to really celebrate potty training success until about a week completely accident free. And even after that I still expect the occasional accident.
TIP #7 WATCH. THAT. PUPPY. Like its your job. If your puppy has an accident that you find later, you are wasting your time trying to scold them. Dogs are in the moment creatures, and they certainly don't understand your language. They will only understand that your angry in this situation, but why would be truly lost on them. If you scold your puppy for an old accident, you are only making that puppy frightened of you. This is not something you want, and will only bring on more problems. While I definitely believe that you need to establish your role as the boss and master, doing this with fear tactics will not bode well in attaining your ultimate goal. This will set you back days,, weeks, months, because now your puppy has a mental road block to figure out. What you want to do is catch your puppy in the act of going inside. If you are able to do this you should immediately scoop up your puppy-mid potty ideally-sternly say "NO! Go Potty outside!", ring that bell quickly, and quickly bring them outside. Then they should get praise and a treat when they finish their business outside. This is a very crucial step in successful potty training. It should be done sternly, but without unnecessary emotion or anger. Again, if you expect these incidents, you will be in the right mental place to handle them correctly.
TIP #8 Clean up: In preparation for your new puppy, you should buy a package of rags, at least 12, a spray bottle, and distilled white vinegar. No special products. Just white vinegar. Most products on the market are way over priced, and really just mask the smell of eliminations. They only mask the smell for you though, your puppy is not fooled. You want to kill those smells so your puppy doesn't keep picking up on them which can trigger them to go potty in that spot again. Puppies are creatures of habit.
White vinegar is one of the best natural cleaners out there. Totally healthy for your dogs. It makes mine sneeze every time I spray it, which makes me laugh for some reason. It will kill all the odors, and do a great job actually cleaning. The vapors might be strong to you, but its better than urine smell. This might sound complicated, but if you have your supplies ready before hand its very easy. When my puppies have accidents I have a easy system. I use 2 rags for #1's. And I use paper towel and one rag for #2's
#1's- I use one to soak up the mess, then I spray it with a 50/50 mixture of water and vinegar, then use the second rag to rub that in and soak that up.
#2's- I use the paper towel to pick up the "gift", then spray the spot with your vinegar solution and use the rag to clean the spot. White vinegar is one of the best natural cleaners out there. Totally healthy for your dogs. It makes mine sneeze every time I spray it, which makes me laugh for some reason. It will kill all the odors, and do a great job actually cleaning. The vapors might be strong to you, but its better than urine smell. This might sound complicated, but if you have your supplies ready before hand its very easy.
TIP #9 Consistency CONSISTENCY CoNsIsTeNcY. Have your figured out that this is key.