House Training Your Golden Retriever: Potty, Crates, and Schedules


dog getting trained

The first concern of every new dog owner is how to potty train their puppy. While every puppy can be house trained, in my experience, Golden Retrievers have been especially easy to train because they are intelligent dogs that love to please.

Today I’m going to share just how easy this can be if you follow a few simple guidelines laid out in this post. Were going to go through all types of training, such as when to start, how to train and how to deal with a dog that proves to be difficult to train.

I also own a Golden retriever and before understanding a few important fundamentals, training did prove to be more difficult than it should have been. However, through research and help from others, I was quickly able to whip my dog into shape.

After reading this, you’ll find that training your dog will literally be a walk in the park! (no pun intended).

Best age to begin training

A puppy can begin potty training as soon as he or she is born. However, puppies have relatively little bladder control up until 8 to 10 weeks of age, so your training method and schedule may be more rigorous during this time. Puppy training pads (Link to Amazon) could be a great option to look at during these early stages too.

How long will this take?

The length of time it takes to properly potty train a puppy depends on your consistency, training method and individual dog. In general, most golden retriever puppies are fully potty trained by the age of 8 months, but if you find yourself needing to still set in some training, then here’s how to do it.

Consistency will be your best friend when tackling the task of training your dog. And the best way to establish consistency is to first start with a schedule. By creating a schedule, your dog quickly becomes aware of the times that certain tasks take place such as feeding, grooming, training and so forth.

For the most part, puppies have a fast-acting digestive system which means that a trip to the bathroom does not follow long after. So, to gather a good gauge of your puppy’s behavior, its best practice getting a schedule set in from as early as possible.

Schedules & Guidelines

Likewise, it’s also important to schedule your dog’s training, exercise, and playtime too. Often you’ll find that puppies have to go to the bathroom after undertaking a physical activity or being highly excited.

By understanding what times of the day your dog enjoys activities, you will quickly learn what times to best suit a feed or potty break in return. A few common times that I found my dog would want a potty break included, right after feeding, before bed and in some cases during the night.

A great schedule to start with would be to allow your puppy to go for a break every 30 to 60 minutes. This is due to puppies generally having a weak bladder which means multiple trips to the bathroom are essential in the earliest of days.

In general, most puppies begin potty training at 8 weeks with 30-minute increments. At 10 weeks you can expand the time between breaks to 45 minutes. At 12 weeks you can begin taking your puppy out every hour to an hour and 15 minutes.

At 16 weeks you can extend the time to 2 hours, and at 20 weeks you can stretch to 3 hours. Some dogs may need shorter increments and others may be able to handle longer increments.

To ensure that the times are properly set for your puppy you can keep a journal and record every success and failure your dog has while potty training. This will help you get a feel for your individual dog’s needs.

Essential Equipment

The equipment you need to potty train will vary by what training method you use. In general, to properly train your puppy you will need:

(All links below are to Amazon)

  1. Leash and Collar
  2. Crate
  3. Puppy Gates or Pet Barriers
  4. Puppy Training Pads or News Papers
  5. Poop Bags
  6. Pooper Scooper
  7. Treats
  8. Cleaning Products

Popular house training methods

There are four methods that are commonly used to potty train a puppy, and many pet owners use a combination of these potty training methods. First, we’ll go through a briefing of each method and then I’ll go into detail of how to implement each of them after.

Crate Training

Crate Training is based on the idea that dogs do not like to go to the bathroom where they sleep. By creating a comfortable cozy environment where your dog can rest and take refuge you allow your dog to think of that space as their place. Dogs don’t like to sleep or rest in their own mess, so your dog will learn to wait to go to the bathroom if you put them in their crate whenever you aren’t busy with them.

Constant Supervision Training

Constant supervision is exactly like it sounds. In this training method, you watch your dog closely and look for signs that they need to go to the bathroom or catch them in the act of going to the bathroom. This method requires you to be very observant about your dog’s behaviors and needs.

Paper Training

Paper Training involves puppy training pads or newspapers. In this method, you train your puppy to go to the bathroom indoors, and if you choose to, you can slowly train your puppy to begin going potty outside.

Leash Training

This training is similar to constant supervision training. However, instead of just watching your puppy, you put them on a leash to limit the area they roam free in. You should also take your dog with you everywhere with this method.

Is it better to train your puppy inside or outdoors?

Most house Training methods are funny enough outdoors. Outdoor potty training eliminates the risk of future accidents and prevents your living space from being tarnished with poop everywhere.

However, thats not to say that you still cant begin inside as whatever you decide should be totally down to preference. Just a quick note, if you DO choose to potty train inside, then make sure to use puppy training pads to help reduce the mess.

Potty breaks in specific areas

Youll probably finds the job to be a whole lot easier if you can get your dog to go in the same place every time. To give you an idea of where to choose for your puppy to take potty breaks, I recommend you look for a spot that is away from doors, windows, pathways, and play areas.

It also needs to be a place thats easy to clean, get to and away from the center of a room (so a corner of some sort). Just make sure that you don’t forget to clean it up, as there’s nothing worse than leftovers getting leftover!

Steps

  1. It’s best to begin training like this with a leash and collar.
  2. Take your dog to the spot and don’t distract your puppy from the task at hand.
  3. When your puppy begins going to the bathroom, you can whisper a cue word like “bathroom” or “potty.”
  4. When you use the cue word, you will slowly condition your dog to go to the bathroom whenever you say that word.
  5. Finally, reward your puppy for his or her good behavior to keep them going to that spot.

How to crate train your puppy

First, you’ll need to set up the crate…

Add in some toys or a blanket in the crate to make it warm and inviting for your Golden Retriever puppy. A few treats can also help make your puppy feel loved and safe in their crate. When you set up the crate make sure it is the appropriate size for your puppy.

A big crate can seem like a good idea for a dog that can grow to weigh 75 pounds, but if your puppy is given too much room, they may feel that they can eliminate in their crate and still have their own space.

If you have a large crate, you can make your crate the appropriate size by closing off parts of the crate with a wooden panel. Also, make sure to put your crate in an area where people usually are to prevent your puppy from feeling lonely.

You can begin crate training by giving the command “crate” or “bed” and rewarding your dog with a treat when they successfully enter their crate. Leave your dog in the crate until it’s time for them to go potty (making a schedule will help you know when this time is). As time goes on slowly extend the period of time between potty breaks and the time your dog is in the crate alone.

I’ve also written a complete guide to crate training that is a whole lot more in-depth on this method that you can read here.

Pros

  • The fastest training method. Helping your dog learn to not eliminate during the night.
  • It gives the owner a break from constant supervision.
  • Prevent your puppy from wandering or sneaking off.

Cons

  • If you adopted a puppy, who has had a negative experience with crates such as being left in them for too long, they will stop caring about whether or not they sleep where they go to the bathroom.
  • Crate training should not be used on dogs with medical conditions or illnesses that cause them to eliminate often. Don’t punish your dog for something they can’t help.
  • If your dog is always left alone in their crate, they will begin to avoid the crate and associate it with isolation.

Constant Supervision Training

Constant supervision training is all about watching your puppy. The goal of constant supervision training is to avoid accidents. You can do this by learning the signals your dog gives you when it needs to go to the bathroom. Some common signs are sniffing, pacing or circling, whining, or sneaking away.

To begin constant supervision training you may want to purchase pet barriers to help you keep an eye on your puppy and prevent them from sneaking off.

Make sure to take your puppy out whenever their potty schedule dictates, and whenever they’re presenting the signs above. With constant supervision, you can prevent mistakes and setbacks.

Pros

  • Giving your puppy freedom to explore
  • Helps prevent accidents and dangerous situations your puppy may get into (i.e. chewing wires, eating something they shouldn’t, etc)
  • It doesn’t require any equipment

Cons

  • This method usually takes longer than crate training.
  • It’s hard to constantly watch a puppy. Puppies are often curious and like to wander. You may find yourself getting up a lot or having to strain your neck.
  • You have to have time to watch your puppy.

Paper training your puppy

Paper training is an indoor training method.

  1. First, set up a confined space for your puppy with a training pad in a space of your choosing. This confined space will give your puppy the same comfort that a crate can.
  2. When your puppy begins successfully eliminating on the training pad, you can begin expanding the area slowly and introduce the puppy to the rest of your home.
  3. Provide training pads along the way and once your puppy is familiar with your home begin decreasing the number of pads and set a pad outside.
  4. When you notice that your dog has to go to the bathroom, take them to the training pad outside. After they begin going to the outside pad you can get rid of all the training pads.

Pros

  • This is the easiest potty training method for puppies
  • Your puppy will have a place to potty at all times and accidents will be few
  • If you live in a cold area or on an upper level, your dog has the option of going to the bathroom inside

Cons

  • If you want your puppy to learn to go outside, paper training will take the longest time of the methods mentioned
  • You will have messes and papers to clean up
  • Any papers (whether they’re intended for training or not) that you leave on the floor are a potential bathroom for your puppy

Leash Training Explained

Leash training is a puppy training method that is very similar to constant supervision.

To implement this training you would put a collar on your dog set them on a leash and watch them for signs of needing to go to the bathroom.

By putting your dog on a leash, you eliminate the need for barriers and will be more in touch with your dog’s needs as you feel them move through the leash.

Pros

  • You only need a leash and collar, both of which are very affordable
  • You can keep your puppy from having accidents and out of danger
  • You’ll be able to take your puppy almost everywhere with you
  • Leash training will also help your puppy learn how to walk properly

Cons

  • If you only leash train, your puppy will not be able to be left home alone or they may have an accident
  • Your puppy can get tangled in the leash if you aren’t paying attention
  • This method requires the owner to have a lot of time to watch their dog
puppy in house

Puppy potty problems

If your puppy keeps having accidents more often than usual, then it may be worth taking a look at the reason why. In most cases, it’s down to a bad diet, as I’ve witnessed many parents try to save a buck here and there only to pay for it later down the road.

Make sure that your puppy always has the best experience when using the bathroom around you or anyone else in the house. Whilst it seems cute to sit there and watch them go for the first few times, its also important to make sure that you don’t startle them or put them off in any way from going when they feel.

Even if you catch your pup going someplace they shouldn’t be, I d still recommend that you remain calm and assertive as oppose to angry and erratic. But don’t overlook such problems as you still don’t want your do got to think it’s ok to just let loose whenever or where ever they feel.

6 to 9 months is usually the sweet spot for Golden retrievers to experience their most potty problem throughout their whole lifetime. It’s usually down to them marking their scent around the house to ensure that they establish dominance and availability to other pups. To help reduce this behavior, spaying or neutering is usually a good option.

Handling Puppy accidents

There’s no escaping it, one day your pup is going to let free somewhere that you’ll least expect. Its the nature of becoming a parent, but what you do after can play a vital role in whether it happens again.

If you spot your dog in the middle of it, then a quick correction should be made with an assertive but calm tone. Unfortunately, if you, on the other hand, find your dog has already made the accident beforehand, then a correction cannot be made until you see it again.

Instead, Id recommends you try out some positive re-enforcement to get your dog to understand that the right place is the location you have set for them.

The rest is the basic things that you already know such as cleaning the area and putting down a nice scent to get rid of the smell.

Conclusion

House Training a Golden Retriever puppy doesn’t have to be complicated. Potty Training can really be boiled down to preventing accidents in the home and praising proper potty etiquette.

whilst I’m here making this sound easy, its a lot easier said than done. But by following the tips in this guide, you should have no problems with training your puppy to behave in your home.

Crate training has always been my go-to method, and if it sounds like something you would like to try out, then be all means give it a go. Good luck with your puppy and be sure to check out some more info too!

Related Post: Training a dog from home

Sean

Sean is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about Golden Retrievers, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia.

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