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Do you want to learn how to potty train your golden retriever fast?
Cleaning up pee several times per day is one of the most frustrating things about owning a new puppy (especially if you have carpet).
And if your puppy is peeing in the house a lot, it can feel like they’re never going to learn how to go outside.
In this guide to potty training your golden retriever, you’ll learn step-by-step how to teach them to go outside in just a few short weeks.
Let’s dive in!
Potty Training Overview
If your puppy is having accidents inside, it’s totally normal.
It’s not that you’re a bad puppy parent, and it’s not that they’re a bad puppy.
You’re traveling abroad and you don’t speak a lick of the local language.
You have to go to the restroom (bad), but you don’t know how to communicate with the locals, plus you don’t know them, so it’s a little awkward.
On top of that, you wouldn’t even recognize a restroom if you saw it because they don’t look like the ones back home.
What are you going to do?
Eventually, you’re going to have to just pick a spot and go!
That’s what it’s like for a new puppy in your home.
They’re in a new environment where they don’t know where they’re supposed to go, they don’t know how to communicate with you that they need to go, and even though you already love them so much, they don’t know that yet.
Potty training is a game of patience, consistency, and getting to know your new puppy.
In this guide we’ll cover:
- How to potty train your puppy
- How long they can hold it
- When to take them outside
- The top mistakes new puppy owners make when it comes to potty training
- Signs they need to go
- And much more
To kick things off, let’s start with the basics of how to potty train your puppy.
Potty Train Your Golden Retriever Fast (With The NOAH Strategy)
Here’s potty training in a nutshell:
- Take them outside to potty
- Praise them for going outside
It’s pretty simple, but not always easy.
To potty train your puppy the fastest, use the Noah Strategy.
Here’s what it is:
Opportunity for an
Accident in the
If you take them out before they realize they need to go, then they’ll always go outside and never have an accident in the house.
It’s not about pushing their limits, or getting them to tell you when they need to go outside, it’s all about making sure your puppy always goes potty outside and doesn’t learn that it’s ok to go inside.
Here’s where people mess up potty training…
They don’t take them outside often enough, so the puppy goes inside.
Then they get mad at the puppy, even though the puppy has no idea why, and they don’t clean it up properly.
An hour later, the puppy has been running around the house, chugged a bunch of water, pees in the house again, and it starts all over…
So how do we stop this cycle from happening?
Step 1: Take Them Outside Often
Some people recommend taking your puppy outside every 20 minutes, while others recommend every hour.
The point is, take your puppy outside often (before they need to go).
Puppies can hold their bladder for about an hour per their age in months, so a two-month-old puppy can hold it for about two hours, a three-month-old puppy can hold it for about three hours, and so on.
However, every accident inside takes your potty training a step back, and if you want to potty train your puppy quickly it’s best to never let them have the opportunity to go inside, so it’s best to stay a step ahead.
If you take your puppy out every 20 minutes and they don’t go, then you can bump it to every 30 minutes.
But if you take your puppy out every hour and they’re having some accidents here and there, then you might want to try every half hour.
If you work from home, or you’re just hanging out at the house on a Sunday, it might help to set a timer to remind you to take your puppy out.
And when you take them outside, remember that it’s not playtime.
Puppies have short attention spans so they might go outside thinking they need to potty, but when they start playing (and golden retriever puppies love to play) they’ll forget about having to go.
Then after ten minutes when they still haven’t gone, you take them inside.
But now that playtime is over they suddenly remember they have to pee and this nice carpet looks like the perfect spot!
And here’s another tip that worked for us…
Oliver has to be moving to go potty, so instead of us going outside and standing in one place waiting for him to go, we would pace or walk circles in the area until he dropped it down and started going.
Step 2: Take Them To The Same Spot
Dogs like to go potty where they smell other pee and poop.
You can use this to your advantage by taking them to the same spot every time.
However, this works to your disadvantage if you don’t clean up accidents correctly.
Dogs have much better noses than us and even if we can’t smell pee in the carpet, they can, and they’ll repeatedly go in the same area.
To stop this, you need to clean up accidents with an enzymatic cleaner, not regular soap and water.
This type of cleaner breaks down and actually removes the smell so that it’s not there anymore.
To clean up Oliver’s accidents, we used this enzymatic cleaner from Amazon.
Step 3: Praise Them For Going Outside
When your puppy first comes to your house, they’re not going to know where to go potty.
But when they go outside and you throw a praise party for them and give them treats, it won’t take them long to realize exactly where they should be going.
One issue that many people make (we made it, too) is praising them too loud and too soon, and interrupting them.
One time, when we were really sick of cleaning up accidents, Oliver was going potty outside and we were so happy we shouted, “GOOD BOY!!!”
We startled him and he immediately stopped midstream and jumped up wondering what was going on.
So when they go outside where they’re supposed to go, calmly praise them as they’re going, and when they’re done you can really let them know they did a great job.
Step 4: Keep Them Constrained
Puppies need to be monitored 24/7.
If you can’t have eyes on them, they need to be in a playpen or crate.
Let’s say you’re cooking dinner…
You’re focused on not burning the chicken and making sure the veggies aren’t getting overcooked and soggy, and not paying attention to your puppy.
Tons of things could go wrong here…
- Go potty in the house and hinder your potty training efforts
- Chew up your nice shoes and now you need to spend $100 to get new ones
- Swallow a sock and need to get it surgically removed
- Find a box of raisins and eat them and die
Clearly the consequences of letting your puppy roam around the house unsupervised can be very serious, so don’t take it lightly.
Crate training is great for puppies because they usually don’t like to go potty where they sleep.
When you’re not playing with or watching them, put them in a crate where they’re likely to not go potty, then when you take them out of the crate, take them straight outside and praise them for going there.
Step 5: Handle Accidents Properly
Accidents will definitely happen when you’re potty training your golden, but it’s important to handle them properly.
First off, don’t punish your puppy for going inside or swat them or shove their nose in it.
They have no idea what you’re trying to tell them or what they did wrong, plus it could hurt your relationship with them going forward, and it’s just mean.
If you catch them in the act, now is the time to startle them (in a nice way) by saying, “Not in here!” or something along those lines.
Then grab them and bring them outside to their spot and if they finish going, praise them like normal for going outside.
The last step about handling accidents well is cleaning it up with an enzymatic cleaner to make sure they don’t think that’s their new potty spot.
How Long Does It Take To Potty Train A Golden Retriever Puppy?
So if you do all of the steps above, how long should it take for your puppy to be potty trained?
All puppies are different, but it can take two weeks to a few months for your golden retriever puppy to be potty trained.
This can depend on factors such as:
- how many accidents they have in the house
- whether or not they’re rewarded for going outside
- if you took them to the same spot every time
- how well you clean up accidents in the house.
Of course, if you never give your puppy an opportunity to go in the house and you reward them when they go where they’re supposed to go, potty training will be much faster for you.
When To Take Your Golden Retriever Outside To Potty
You should be taking your puppy out very frequently, but here’s a list of times when puppies typically have to go (and therefore, when you should take them out):
- After drinking
- After eating
- After playing
- After chewing a toy
- After a nap
- As soon as they come out of the crate
- First thing in the morning
- Last thing at night
5 Signs Your Golden Retriever Needs To Go Potty
As you get to know your puppy you’ll start to notice signs that tell you when they need to go.
Here are a few common ones:
- Sniffing the ground more than normal
- Barking/biting/pawing/asking for attention more than normal (Oliver would let us know by nipping a lot)
- Sitting at the front door
6 Potty Training Mistakes
Potty training is a big learning time for both you and your puppy.
It can be a long and frustrating process, but if you don’t make these common mistakes, it will be a lot easier and stress-free.
Here are the common mistakes new puppy owners make when it comes to potty training:
- Punishing their puppy for going inside
- Not taking their puppy outside often enough
- Not praising them for going where they’re supposed to
- Not recognizing the signs that their puppy needs to go
- Not using an enzymatic cleaner
- Trying to push their puppy’s bladder’s limits
Potty Training Fast Facts & Tips
We’ve already covered most of the facts and tips you need to know about potty training, but to summarize things (or you’re a skimmer), here’s what you really need to know:
- It can take two weeks to several months to potty train your golden retriever puppy
- Golden retrievers are large breeds, so they should pick up potty training quicker than small breeds
- Puppies can usually hold their bladders for about one hour per their age in months (i.e. a two-month-old puppy can hold it for two hours)
- Expect to wake up several times per night to take them out
- Use the Noah Strategy, don’t push their limits, and take them out before they need to go (take them out as frequently as every 20-30 minutes)
- Always clean up accidents with an enzymatic cleaner
- Never punish your puppy for having an accident
- If you catch them in the act, interrupt them, take them outside, and praise them for finishing
- Praise them for going where they’re supposed to go
- Take them to the same spot every time
- Learn the signs your puppy gives when they need to go
- Some puppies may prefer grass over other substrates (like mulch, dirt, etc.)
- Crate training helps with potty training
If you follow the tips in this guide, your puppy will be going outside in no time.
The biggest thing to remember is that if you want to potty train your puppy fast, use the Noah Strategy and don’t give them an opportunity to have an accident in the house.
Keep a close eye on them (use a playpen or crate if you can’t watch them) and watch for the warning signs.
Have any other tips for potty training your golden retriever puppy?
Or have questions about potty training?
Let me know in the comments below!
To have a quick reminder of these tips on your phone, click here to download the free Potty Training Cheat Sheet.