- Potty Training Your Golden Retriever Puppy
- How Long Can Your Golden Retriever Pup “Hold It”?
- Using the NOAH Strategy to Potty Train Your Golden Retriever Fast
- How Long Does Potty Training Take?
- When You Should Take Your Golden Retriever Puppy Outside
- The Warning Signs That Your Golden Retriever Puppy Needs to Go
- Common Potty Training Mistakes That New Pup Parents Make
- TLDR: Useful Potty Training Tips
Every pet owner is looking for a way to potty train their pup fast.
It can be incredibly frustrating to clean up pee and poop several times a day, and it’s a total nightmare if you’ve got carpet!
If your pup is having a lot of accidents in the house and you’re having to constantly clean them up, it can feel like there’s no way they’ll ever learn to go outside instead.
Don’t worry, though. I’m going to supply you with a step-by-step tutorial that will have your Golden Retriever going outside in no time!
Potty Training Your Golden Retriever Puppy
The first thing you should know is that it’s perfectly normal for a puppy to have accidents inside, no matter how bad it annoys or disgusts you.
It doesn’t mean that your puppy is unruly, or that you’re not doing a good enough job training them.
For puppies, it’s a bit like being in a foreign country and not speaking the language.
Even when they need to go potty, they lack the communication skills to let you know they need to go because they don’t speak your language.
Worse still, our bathrooms don’t look like anything they’d typically use to go potty, so it’s not like they’d recognize that as a place to go.
So they eventually pick what they think is an ideal spot and go potty out of necessity.
They’re still new to your home, your customs, and your rules. They don’t know where they’re supposed to go, they don’t know how to tell you they need to go, and worse yet, they don’t yet know that they can trust you and that you love them. It’s a scary situation for them, and maybe even embarrassing. (I know I’d be embarrassed in that situation!)
So in order to potty train your Golden Retriever puppy properly, you’re going to need to be consistent and patient while bonding with your pup and also getting to know them.
Here are some of the things we’ll cover in this article:
- How to potty train your Golden Retriever puppy
- How long your Golden Retriever pup can “hold it”
- When you should take your pup outside
- The most common potty training mistakes new pup parents to make
- The warning signs that your Golden Retriever puppy needs to go
- And more!
How Long Can Your Golden Retriever Pup “Hold It”?
We all know that puppies pee-a LOT! It seems like they have tiny little bladders. But how long can they hold it before they have to go?
Usually, puppies can hold it for somewhere around an hour per month of age. So if your puppy is one month old, one hour, two months old, two hours, three months old, three hours, etc.
Using the NOAH Strategy to Potty Train Your Golden Retriever Fast
The idea behind potty training a puppy is simple. You just take them outside to go potty and praise them when they go outside.
As simple as this sounds, it doesn’t always go that easy.
The best way to potty train a Golden Retriever puppy is to utilize the NOAH strategy:
- Never an
- Opportunity for an
- Accident in the
That may sound impossible to achieve, but it’s easier than you’d think. You just take your pup outside before it has time to realize they need to potty. That way they’ll go outside every time, rather than having accidents in the house.
This strategy isn’t about teaching them to communicate with you and tell you when they need to go outside, and it’s not about teaching them to hold it or push their limits. Instead, it ensures that your pup goes outside and never gets the idea that going inside is acceptable.
Most pup parents screw up by not taking their pups outside frequently enough, so they have accidents in the house. They go on to get mad at the puppy who has no idea why their owner is scolding them. Lastly, they don’t clean the mess up sufficiently.
A little while later, after the pup has drank a bunch of water or wolfed down a ton of food and then had a good romp, the puppy goes in the house again and starts the process all over again.
So, here’s how you avoid that process altogether.
Step 1: Take Your Puppy Outside More Frequently
How often should you take your Golden Retriever puppy outside? That’s debated by experts. Some say every hour, while others say every 20 minutes.
You don’t have to take your puppy outside at precise intervals like clockwork.
The whole idea is that you should take your puppy outside so often that they don’t have the chance to pee in the house.
Every time your puppy has an accident in the house, it’s a setback in the potty training process. This means to potty train your puppy quickly, you should avoid these accidents entirely and keep ahead of them.
If you find that your Golden puppy isn’t going when you take them outside every 20 minutes, then start taking them out every 30 minutes instead.
It’s a good idea to set timers or alarms to help remind you to take your puppy out.
You’ve got to keep your puppy focused once they’re outside. This is NOT playtime!
Puppies have the attention span of goldfish, so even though they went outside with the initial intention of going potty, they can completely forget why they came outside when they start playing and then just not go.
Then you notice that they haven’t gone potty after a few minutes and take them back in the house.
Once they’re back inside they’ll remember that they have to go because they aren’t distracted by playing anymore, and accidents will happen.
Here’s a trick to help your puppy go. If your puppy needs to be moved to potty, then don’t just stand in one place when you’re outside with them. Instead, you can walk around in circles around the area or pace. Eventually, they’ll go!
Step 2: Consistently Take Your Pup To The Same Place
All dogs (Golden Retrievers included) prefer to go potty where they can smell poop and pee. It’s an instinctual thing for them.
This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage for you.
It can be used as an advantage by taking them to the same spot when you take them outside because they’ll smell the poop and pee and know to go there.
It can be a real disadvantage if they go in the house and it isn’t properly cleaned because now it smells like poop or pee and they’ll instinctively think they should go in that area.
Golden Retrievers were originally bred to be hunting dogs, which means they come equipped with an intensely strong sense of smell. Even if we can’t smell the pee or poop anymore, they can, and you’ll notice that they’ll keep going to that spot to potty in the house.
If you want to break this cycle, use an enzymatic cleaner in any area where they’ve had an accident. Neither soap and water nor regular household cleaners are going to work, no matter what exaggerated claims they make about their odor-fighting power.
The reason enzymatic cleaners work is that they chemically break down the odors and destroy them. If you’re looking for a fairly inexpensive enzymatic cleaner, you can check out this one from Amazon.
Step 3: Always Praise Your Golden Retriever Puppy When They Go Potty Outside
When you first bring home your Golden Retriever puppy, they have no idea where they should be going potty.
However, if your Golden Retriever puppy goes potty outside and suddenly gets showered with cuddles and praises and treats, it won’t take them long at all to figure out that they should be going outside.
Golden Retrievers respond really well to positive reinforcement. In fact, they eat it up. They love making you happy! You’ll find that it works a lot better than scolding them.
Just make sure that you aren’t being too loud when you’re praising them or interrupting them when they go potty. You don’t want to scare them or make them stop in the middle of going potty.
Instead, praise them calmly while they’re going potty, and again when they’ve finished. This reassures them that they’ve done something good.
Step 4: Keep Them Confined
You’ve got to monitor puppies 24/7, but this is even more true of Golden Retriever puppies because they’re so intelligent and hyper. (It’s a dangerous combination!)
Any time you aren’t able to watch your pup, they should be put in either a pen or a crate.
If you’re focused on cooking dinner, helping your kids with their homework, or an important work phone call, you aren’t focused on your Golden Retriever pup.
There are a lot of bad things that could happen as a result, such as:
- Your puppy could take advantage of this and go potty in the house, setting potty training efforts back
- Your puppy could chew up something it wasn’t supposed to
- Your puppy could eat something it wasn’t supposed to, which could require surgery to remove or be poisoned
So, it’s very important that you don’t let your puppy have unsupervised access to the house. You should be vigilant about supervising your puppy, and not just for potty training reasons.
Crate training your Golden Retriever puppy is a great idea. Dogs typically don’t like to potty in the same area that they sleep, so using a crate can keep them from going potty inside when you’re not watching them.
Just pop them in the crate when you can’t closely supervise them, and then when you’re done you can take them immediately outside. Remember to praise them for going potty outside!
Step 5: Handle and Clean Up Accidents Properly
The unfortunate truth of potty training is that there will inevitably be accidents. Since they’re unavoidable, it’s important that you learn to handle them properly and clean them up effectively.
The first thing you need to know is that you shouldn’t punish your Golden Retriever puppy for having an accident. Of course, it may seem like you should give them a swat, and a lot of people think that if you rub their nose in it then they won’t do it again.
If you rub your puppy’s nose in their own poop or pee, they’re not going to understand why you’re doing that and they’re just going to think you’re a jerk (to say the least!). Your pup will just have accidents and not understand why you’re mad, or why you’re punishing them.
Punishing your pup this way is counterproductive to the positive relationship you’re trying to build with them. You want them to think they can trust you and that you’re fun. It’s kind of hard for your puppy to think you’re fun if you’re rubbing their nose in pee!
If you catch them in the middle of going potty in the house, find a kind way to startle them. Say something like “not in the house!”. Say it quickly, clearly, and use a voice a little louder than your usual speaking voice.
After you’ve startled them a little to catch their attention, take them outside and put them in their potty spot. If your puppy finishes going potty outside, then you should praise them and maybe give them a treat. Let them know that you’re happy that they went outside.
You also need to make sure you’re cleaning up accidents thoroughly. The majority of pet odor or pet stain cleaning products just don’t cut it. Make sure you’re making an enzymatic cleaning product so that the odors don’t remain after you’ve cleaned up the mess.
How Long Does Potty Training Take?
Let’s say you’re doing all of the steps that I’ve listed above. How long does it take to potty train a Golden Retriever puppy?
Every puppy is different, and so is their learning speed. You can expect it to take anywhere from two weeks to a couple of months to potty train your Golden Retriever puppy.
Some of the factors that affect the speed of potty training include:
- How many and how often your pup has accidents inside
- If you praise your pup and give them rewards when they go potty outside
- If you’re taking them to the same potty spot every time you take them outside
- If you effectively clean the indoor accidents
Potty training will go a lot faster if you don’t give your pup the chance to go potty in the house and if you praise and reward them when they go potty outside!
When You Should Take Your Golden Retriever Puppy Outside
Of course, you know you should take your puppy outside quite often. But you can also determine when to put your puppy outside after they’ve completed some common activities that typically result in Golden Retriever puppies having to go.
Here are some of the times you can take them out:
- After getting a drink
- After mealtimes
- After playing outside or playing with toys inside
- After nap times
- Immediately after letting them out of their crate
- As soon as you get up in the morning
- Before you go to sleep at night
The Warning Signs That Your Golden Retriever Puppy Needs to Go
Since your puppy’s mannerisms are unique, it will take some time to learn how your puppy displays signs that they need to go potty.
Until you’ve got that down, here are some of the more common signs that puppies display when they need to go:
- Walking around in circles
- Sniffing the ground a lot (More than is usual)
- Trying to get attention. This can include things like barking, pawing, biting, or nipping. (My Heidi grumbles at me.)
- Sitting by the front door or scratching at it. (I once had a dog that would go stand at the door and wag his tail when he had to go.)
Common Potty Training Mistakes That New Pup Parents Make
Potty training requires a lot of learning, not just from your Golden Retriever puppy, but from you.
It can be a really frustrating process for everyone involved. There will be mistakes, made by both your puppy and you. But if you get through it, then your pup will be a more well-adjusted family member and you’ll have a stronger bond from going through the experience together.
Here are some of the most common mistakes that pet owners make while potty training Golden Retriever puppies:
- Punishing the puppy when they have accidents inside
- Failing to take their Golden Retriever puppy outside frequently enough
- Failing to praise the puppy for going potty outside
- Not understanding the warning signs that the puppy needs to go potty
- Using household cleaners to clean up accidents, instead of enzymatic cleaners
- Making their puppy hold their bladder for too long
TLDR: Useful Potty Training Tips
Here’s a summary of the most important tips in this article to refresh your memory (and for those who are skimming to find the most useful bits of information at the end of the article.).
- Depending on your puppy and your training techniques, it can take somewhere between 2 weeks and a couple of months to potty train a Golden Retriever puppy.
- Because Golden Retrievers are large breed dogs, they tend to pick up potty training faster than smaller breeds.
- Your puppy can only hold their bladder for around one hour per each month of age. So, if your puppy is 3 months old, you can expect that they can hold it for around 3 hours.
- Plan to wake up throughout the night to let your puppy out. It’s an unfortunate part of owning a puppy. But just as new parents have to wake up several times a night to feed babies, it’s important to let your puppy out so that they don’t have accidents in the house.
- Adopt the NOAH potty training strategy. Don’t try to test the limits of your puppy’s bladder. And take your puppy outside before you think they have to go. (This means letting them out every 20- 30 minutes. It may be a pain, but it’s worth it.)
- Any time your puppy has an accident inside, clean it up with an enzymatic cleaner to eliminate the odor. Puppies can smell where they’ve pooped or peed before, and if the odor is still there they will want to return to that place to go potty.
- Don’t punish your Golden Retriever puppy for accidents. Golden Retrievers don’t respond well to punishment-based training.
- If you happen to catch your puppy having an accident in progress, interrupt the action, and take the puppy outside. If your puppy resumes going potty outside, then praise and reward them.
- Praise and reward your Golden Retriever puppy every time they go potty outside, or where you want them to go. Golden Retrievers respond really well to praise and reward-based training because they’re so eager to please their owners. So the happier you seem, the more they’ll want to do things to replicate that.
- Make sure you’re taking your puppy to the same spot every time you put them outside to go potty. They’ll smell that this is the place that they’re supposed to go.
- Pay attention to your puppy and learn the warning signs that your puppy needs to go.
- There will be a learning curve. For instance, some puppies prefer grass over things like dirt and mulch. Once you figure that out, you can take your puppy to a nice grassy place to potty. (Or a spot with lots of dirt, if that’s what your pup is into.)
- Crate training goes hand-in-hand with potty training.
If you follow the tips I’ve laid out in this guide, then you’ll have an easier time potty training your puppy, and it should go more quickly for you.
Use the NOAH strategy and try to avoid accidents in the house at all costs. This will make the process go a lot quicker.
Make sure that your puppy is supervised, and crated when you can’t keep an eye on them so that accidents don’t happen simply because you’re in the other room.
And lastly, learn the warning signs that your puppy provides to let you know that they need to go potty.
If you’d like to know more about Golden Retrievers, check out our articles:
- Complete Beginner’s Guide to Train Your Golden Retriever Puppy
- Golden Retrievers: History, Types, Temperament, Health, and Behaviors
- Types of Golden Retrievers: Decoding Their Colors and Patterns
- How Long Do Golden Retrievers Live?
- Full Breakdown Cost to Buy and Raise A Golden Retriever
- Raising Your Golden Retriever Puppy to Adulthood: Height and Weight Growth Chart
- 6-Week-Old Golden Retriever: Developmental Milestones to Expect
- 8-Week-Old Golden Retriever: Growth, Developmental and Behavioral Expectations
- 3-Month-Old Golden Retriever: Training, Feeding, Sleeping
- 4-Month-Old Golden Retriever: Training, Feeding, and Behaviors
- 5-Month-Old Golden Retriever: Behaviors, Feeding, and Training
- 6-Month-Old Golden Retriever: What to Expect from Canine Adolescence
- 7-Month-Old Golden Retriever: Full-Blown Adolescence
- 8-Month-Old Golden Retriever: Behavior, Training, and Development
- 12-Month-Old Golden Retriever: A Journey into Adulthood
- Golden Retriever Common Health Issues: Symptoms, Treatments, and Prevention