Nature's ways are truly wonderous and awesome. Do you know that puppies cannot eliminate either urine or feces the first 2-3 weeks of life? The mother stimulates the areas and then ingests the eliminations which prevents odor from accumulating and drawing potential predators. One of the many ways she protects her babies from harm as they grow.
However, this same miracle can be quite tasking when the mother cannot or will not perform her duties. Most people only think of having to feed the puppies, not of having to help them eliminate or go through the puppy building exercises. Not to mention the temperature they need to be since they cannot generate their own body heat, and several other considerations. Definitely not for the faint of heart!
On that note, I witnessed the litter's first elimination this morning. One brave sole departed from the rest of the pack to find a corner of solitude and let 'er rip. So now it's time to think about separating the crate into a sleeping area and a potty area. If given this opportunity, most puppies will be paper trained before they go home!