Now imagine walking into your home with a guest after being gone for four hours. You are surprised when your pup greets you at the door. You thought you had confined him, but apparently, you did not close the door well enough and he wandered back out. You nervously warn your guest to watch where she steps as you look all around your home for an accident. You are pleasantly surprised when you do not find an accident. It is at that moment that you realize that all of your hard work potty training since that first day when you left him on the couch, has really paid off. You proudly take your pup outside to go potty, and you praise him enthusiastically when he goes right away.
When teaching your dog how to use the bathroom, try to prevent as many accidents as you can by closely supervising him when he is not confined, by confining him when you cannot watch him, by following a schedule for potty breaks, and by closely following the rest of the steps outlined in the method you choose to use. The more accidents that you can prevent, the quicker your buddy will learn, and the easier the training will be in the long run.
If you do not intend to have your pup use the potty inside your home long term, then avoid the use of pee pads. Instead, if you are using the 'Toilet Area' method, then use a litter box with the top removed, filled partially with cat litter or a piece of grass sod. Because pee pads are made out of fabric type material, when you remove the Pee Pads in order to transfer the training outside, some dogs will become confused and use the bathroom on similar objects, such as rugs, mats, and carpeting, instead. It is best to only use pee pads if you plan to continue using them long term. Litter and grass more closely mimic the material that your pup will encounter outside, so they are more suited for temporary use.
Be patient with your dog while teaching this. Most dogs will not remember something out of context or after a lot of time has passed. If your pup has an accident and you do not catch him in the act, then simply clean up the accident well with a pet safe cleaner that contains enzymes that will break down the pee and poop smell fully, and then try to supervise your pup better next time.