I have set off a 4 day weekend to welcome my 3 1/2 month old shih tzu puppy this coming Labor Day Holiday. Now I have read numerous articles and posts about the best way to housebreak and train a puppy is through crate training but I have also heard severall people talk about having a playpen set up with potty pads. I have read that it is possible to potty pad train and also do outdoor training at the same time - though it takes a lot of patience, both can be accomplished. Here is my situation: After my mini-vacation, I will have to return to my full-time career and will only be able to go home during lunch time to take the puppy out, and of course early mornings before work and when I get home in the evenings. BUT, I will have roommates at home that will be able to take him out also but will probably not be able to play with him. They will be able to let him outside, as well as feed him. What I want to know is this: I just don't want the puppy to be in a crate all the time, so was wondering if I should just set up a play pen - one side with his food and water, and the other side with potty pads. And when I am home, I would take him outside to potty when needed. Is indoor/outdoor training possible? Now before you answer: keep in mind that my original question is, should I still do crate? or should I do a playpen? I am involved in another dog forum asking for the same advice and got ridiculed by some pet owners telling me that I should not get a puppy if I have a full time job. BUT I have read experiences from people and also have had a lot of friends in the same situation as I, and have managed to raise a healthy and happy dog while maintaining a full time job as well. Thanks for your thoughts.