How To House Train A Golden Retriever Puppy

What is one of the most daunting, tiresome, frustrating, and time-consuming aspects of having a puppy? House training.

I’m not going to sugarcoat it – it’s difficult.

Just when you think your pup has got the hang of it, you step in a wet shoe!

Just when you think it’s safe to walk barefoot through your house again? Surprise! A puddle appears!

How To House Train A Golden Retriever Puppy

Thankfully, your golden retriever pup has a knack for learning, so hopefully, this may make the process a bit easier to get through.

Nevertheless, prepare for a lot of accidents, expletives, patience, and treats.

In this guide, we’ll share tried and tested methods for how to house train a golden retriever puppy.

Essentials For House Training A Golden Retriever

First up – my essential list of what you need to house train your golden retriever. I can’t express how much being equipped with the right tools makes a difference.

  • Cleaning supplies: Using enzymatic cleaners that are specifically for animal mess will help to eliminate odors, which helps your nostrils but also discourages the puppy toileting in the same area. This is a great tool for those early training moments.
  • Treats: This is an absolute must. Retrievers love food, and using treats as positive reinforcement can help to reward and reinforce good behavior when toileting has gone well!
  • Watch/alarm: You may think you’ll always remember, but you’re only human, so this one is really important. Don’t forget, their little bodies can struggle to hold in their toilet. Setting up a regular toileting schedule where you encourage them to go outside to eliminate is vital. They won’t just learn to let you know when they need to go outside, so pairing regular trips to the garden along with rewarding any toileting with a treat will help your dog learn what is expected of them.
  • Puppy pads or newspaper: This one is optional. Whilst most people will tell you this is a must, it’s really down to the individual. Some find puppy pads helpful, but others find that it just prolongs the process. Personally? I agree with the latter. You’re teaching the pup that it’s okay to toilet on the pad, and then at some point it isn’t anymore. If you are keeping to regular intervals for toileting outside, I would skip this one. However, each to their own and some people feel better about making the process more gradual by training the pup to toilet in a designated area inside before they move the training outside.
  • Crate: Again, another optional one. The reason it’s listed, though, is that it can help teach your pup to control their bladder and bowels as they will want to avoid eliminating in their den.
  • Patience and consistency: So, thankfully these are free, not more items to purchase. However, they may be the hardest on this list to locate!

My Top Tips For How To House Train A Golden Retriever Puppy

1. Developing A Routine For Potty Training Your Retriever Pup

So, as I mentioned, you’re going to want to set up a toilet schedule.

A good rule of thumb would be to take your golden pup outdoors first thing in the morning, following every mealtime, following any playtime, and before bedtime.

It’s important to be patient when you’re outdoors. Pups love to sniff, as we know! You will want to make sure that you’re outside with your pup for at least 5 to 10 minutes before returning indoors if they haven’t pottied.

Staying out even longer, if you can, would be great!

Being outdoors can be exciting, so they may not immediately go to the toilet. Staying with them is recommended so that you can see it when it happens, allowing you to reward that behavior straight away with a treat!

Golden’s do tend to be quick learners, and you may be surprised how quickly they may catch on that going to the toilet outside gets them a treat, but toileting inside gets them nothing.

2. Introducing Potty Commands

Within this routine, you may want to begin teaching a command to associate with toileting. Every dog owner is different, but this can be useful, for example, if you are taking your pooch to someone else’s home or on holiday.

The command can be anything of your choice, but it should be simple, clear, and not too similar to any other command that you are teaching them (and I’d also recommend it to be polite!), for example, “go potty” or “do your business”.

Timing is important when you’re introducing a command to aid toilet training. When you take them to where you want them to go to the toilet, use that command when you notice them starting to go to the toilet.

This is another way that supervision at the point of training can be helpful. Making sure that you are consistent with using the command at the time of toileting will signal to your pup what “go potty” means.

Again, praising them when they finish their business once you’ve given the command is important for positive reinforcement.

A cuddle and a treat is going to get your furry pal realizing what a wonderful job they’re doing!

3. Watching For Signs

Once you’re into the routine of training, your pup will naturally start to realize that they need to find a way to communicate to you that they need to go potty if they’re not already outside.

This isn’t a one size fits all, and this is where supervising your golden is essential.

You may notice that the signs your pup shows can be anything, from sniffing, circling, whining, barking, or even tapping the door!

If you notice any of these behaviors whilst your dog is indoors, it’s important to let them out.

If they then eliminate, that pup deserves plenty of treats and fusses!

This has to be one of the proudest moments of being a fur parent when your pup has learned to let you know when they need to go out to the toilet.

From here on in, it will only get easier.

How To House Train A Golden Retriever Puppy

Other Potty Training Tactics In More Detail

Puppy Pads

I mentioned earlier that this isn’t one of my go-to methods, but it’s still worth spending some time discussing it, as I know it’s an important step for lots of owners.

As with the other methods I’ve talked about, training your Golden Retriever puppy with potty pads requires patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement.

Begin by placing the potty pads in a designated area and consistently guiding your puppy to the pads whenever they show signs of needing to relieve themselves.

Praise and reward them immediately after they use the pad.

Gradually move the pads closer to the door and then outside to transition them to going outdoors.

Training With Command Buttons

Potty training your Golden Retriever using command buttons introduces an innovative method for communication between you and your pup. Begin by selecting a button that, when pressed, clearly says “potty” or a similar command. Place the button near the door or the designated potty area.

Each time you take your puppy out for a bathroom break, encourage them to press the button with their paw or nose. After they press the button, immediately take them to their potty area.

Reward and praise them for both using the button and successfully going to the bathroom in the correct spot.

Consistency is key; with regular practice, your Golden Retriever will learn to press the button whenever they need to go outside.

This method not only aids in potty training but also fosters communication and understanding, making it a rewarding experience for both you and your pet.

You can also use a simple bell for the same purpose as the command button.

Crate Training

As I touched upon earlier, crate training for potty training leverages a dog’s natural instinct to avoid soiling their sleeping area.

Introduce your Golden pup to the crate gradually, making it a positive and comfortable space.

Use the crate for short periods, and always take them to the potty pad or outside immediately after releasing them from the crate.

This method helps regulate their bladder control and teaches them to hold until they are taken to the appropriate spot.

Consistency in taking them out at regular intervals and after meals or naps is key to success.

Looking for more puppy advice? Read our guide to introducing your new golden pup to your household.

The Final Woof

An abundance of love, patience, and treats is required when you start to potty train your golden retriever puppy.

It can be easy to become frustrated if, one day your pup gets it, and the next day they seem to go backwards.

But remember that this is the case with learning for us all – whether we have two legs or four.

What’s important is, even when they seem to rewind, you don’t want to create anxiety around potty training for them.

As much as it can feel difficult, you have to try to stay cool and avoid acting in a punitive way towards your pup. That’s not to say you fuss them when they have an accident – you don’t want any sort of association, whether positive or negative, with them having an accident.

The best thing you can do is clean it up promptly and take them outside, even after an accident, to demonstrate “this is where it should have been done”.

Once you’ve achieved house training your beautiful fur baby, your whole new lease of life as a dog pawrent begins!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Golden Retriever puppies hard to house train?

Golden Retriever puppies are generally not hard to house train as they are eager to please and respond well to positive reinforcement.

At what age are most Golden Retrievers potty trained?

Most Golden Retrievers are potty trained by the age of 4 to 6 months, with consistent training.

What is the most difficult dog to house train?

Breeds like the Afghan Hound, Bichon Frise, and Dachshund are often considered more challenging to house train due to their stubborn nature or independent attitudes.

Jade Miller
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