I appreciate the feedback. I was surprised, I guess, about the last couple of mistakes, because the puppy had been out within an hour or so of each puddle, and he had been good for over a week, and I was thinking to myself both that he had caught the idea, and that he wasn't needing to go when he did those accidents, because he had been out within an hour or so. Last night it was pouring buckets, and he was so fascinated by the rain, I suppose he was distracted, and in the dark, with so much water falling, I must have thought he had. And I hadn't taken water up. I'll go back to doing that at 9 pm.
I would like to spend more time outside, frankly, but it has been brutally hot, heat index in the 100 degree plus and high humidity (we're in the midatlantic). After he's done his business, we play some games and he lies down for a break and a chew on a stick, I look at a book or something for a minute, then raise my head and he has run back to the back door and goes up the steps to go in, even when I would be happy outside for longer. Or he runs back even before that. Even though the yard has lots of shade, I understand why he'd rather be inside. We usually spend a couple of hours outside from 8 to 10 or so, then out every hour or so all day. Each time we go out, we take a walk around the yard, which is over an acre, so that's a biggish walk for a puppy.
My situation is not ideal for housetraining - I am home all day, but I have 4-5 steps going in and out. Puppy can't negotiate the down steps, so I am carrying him down. I worry about hurting him as he is getting bigger and heavier and that's unnatural pressure on his ribs/arms, each time I pick him up given I am doing it so many times during the day. He *has* gone down the steps, but it is a clumsy rush, and I think he'll need another week or two before I trust him not to tumble.
One outside my yard is brushy in places, that he can disappear in an instant. He loves high "grass". I have a stream that crosses my yard, and alongside it is 300 feet of jewelweed that I let grow wild for the hummingbirds. When the jewelweed blooms (its late this year), and the hummers are gone, I'll cut all that back, but in the meantime puppy loves every area that is brushy, filled with jewelweed, roses or raspberry canes. He throws himself into high foliage like kids diving into piles of leaves. I worry when I can't see him. And of course, I have to see him to know that he's pottied. So it's not quite as idea as if there were no steps and I could just open the door and he could go out on his own. That will come I hope when this heat wave breaks and he can go down steps and perhaps even negotiate the dog door on the porch.
What I am guilty of, is thinking because I had over a week where the puppy had not had any accidents in the house, that he was housetrained to hold it for an hour or two, when really, I had just managed him to look like he was housetrained. And I guess it is hard to know when he's crossed that line without risking an accident or two.