When your puppy first arrives home, he or she will not be quite ready to “hold it” overnight, or all day while you are at work.
Overnight is going to be a challenge at first! Puppies need to be close to their family, it's a survival instinct. Even a few feet away can be quite scary. Your puppy has been with is litter his entire life, and he slept in a crate overnight with his siblings, (with the door open). If you don't have one yet, a Snuggle Puppy can help him get used to being alone. Other than that, there should be no toys, no bones, and no night light! Night time is for sleeping, and all 3 of those things do not encourage sleeping.
At night, the crate should be placed in an x-pen, and the x-pen should be arranged to that there is only room for the crate and a potty area just outside the crate.
Remove water 2 hours before bed. Once your puppy is no longer using the potty area overnight for 1 week with no slip-ups, the crate door can be shut overnight.
If you are using pee pads, I highly suggest putting a layer of newspaper down over the pee pad. This way your puppy cannot chew on the pee pad. Also it is best to change the newspaper when it is soiled, but LEAVE the pee pad. Puppies recognize where to go potty based on smells at this age, so you do not want a fresh clean pee pad until necessary. Pee pads are designed to absorb the smell so that we can’t smell it right away, but the puppy should still be able to smell it under the newspaper.
Touch can be a key ingredient to reassuring a scared puppy. If your puppy is having trouble getting used to sleeping alone, having the crate close enough at night to reach down and touch the pup with just a finger or two.... even letting them nibble a little, is often enough to calm them down. This is also the best time to teach the Quiet or SHHH command...softly, quietly.
Some people will lay down by the crate like they are going to sleep there. Usually a puppy may fuss a little, but then settle down and go to sleep. Once the puppy is asleep, you can get up and go to bed. The puppy may be scared when they wake up alone though, if that is the case then next to your bed is the best bet.
I have seen great results with placing the crate on a chair next to the bed. The puppy is sleeping next to you, is reassured by your presence, and learns not to panic in the crate because they aren’t truly alone. A huge benefit to this, when your puppy wakes up and needs to go potty, they will probably whimper or cry enough to wake you. This helps with potty training amazingly well, as your puppy does not have the option of a pee pad, but you are right there to take him out to go the bathroom!
During the day while no one is home (or any other time your puppy needs to be unattended like dinner time,) extend the x-pen out enough so that there is room for water, as well as food if you are free feeding. Do not give any more extra room than that until your puppy is completely potty trained!
Put any bones or safe toys in her crate so she has something to do. Cow hooves are safe to leave with puppies unattended until they have their adult teeth. Basted or smoked cow knuckle bones are also safe to leave with a puppy until their adult teeth come in, just make sure their lower jaw can’t get stuck in the hole on the end. Do not give basted/smoked pork bones! They splinter into sharp shards incredibly easy. Once your puppies adult teeth come in, all bones and cow hooves should only be given when you are home. Kong toys with peanut butter or yogurt frozen in them are also great time fillers.