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How To Potty Train a Golden Retriever: Step by Step Guide

Written by: Kit Copson

Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by Dogster Team

Golden retriever puppy getting ready to poop on green grass in the backyard

How To Potty Train a Golden Retriever: Step by Step Guide


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Teaching your dog to use the potty outside is one of the fundamentals of dog training, and for new dog parents, it can be intimidating. The secrets to training your Golden Retriever to go to the bathroom are consistency, patience, and understanding. Some puppies will pick it up easily and others will need a little more time. You may also have to be prepared for accidents now and again while your puppy is learning.

The good news is that Golden Retrievers are highly intelligent dogs and also very eager to please, which makes them very receptive to training. If you’re new to training a goldie to use the bathroom, try the following steps and tips.

How To Potty Train Your Golden Retriever: Steps

What You'll Need:
  • Training treats
  • Consistency

Before we get started, it’s important to attune yourself to your puppy or dog’s signals that they need to use the bathroom. If you spot your Golden Retriever fidgeting, circling, squatting, and/or sniffing a lot, these are giveaway signs that they need to “go”.

It’s also a good idea to start your goldie’s potty training in the morning, as this helps them get into the routine of going first thing. Then, throughout the day, take your puppy outside regularly to go through the training steps again. This helps consolidate what they’ve learned.

According to the RSPCA, it’s a good rule of thumb to take puppies out to pee every 45 minutes or so and also first thing in the morning, after every meal, after exercise or play time, before bedtime, and before you leave the house and then again when you come back. Usually, a  puppy’s developing bladder will typically be able to hold urine for one hour per month of age. So, if you have a two-month-old puppy, you should let it out every two hours. Then every three hours when it reaches three months of age, and so on.

Golden retriever on a leash sitting on grass
Image Credit By: Charlotte Yealey, Pixabay


  • Take your Golden Retriever outside into the yard to the spot where you want them to use the bathroom. Sticking to the same spot always will reap better results.
  • Allow your Golden Retriever to explore the area and sniff around to get the “feel” of the place.
  • When your Golden Retriever starts to do their business, quickly give a verbal cue like “go potty” or “toilet”. They will learn to associate the word with going to the bathroom.
  • Reward your Golden Retriever with one of their favorite treats, and don’t forget to heap on the praise.
  • Spend a little time with your dog outside before returning to the house. According to the RSPCA, going straight back into the house may teach your dog that going to the bathroom means no more outside or “fun” time.
  • Repeat these steps frequently throughout the day.
golden retriever puppy sitting
Image Credit: Parilov, Shutterstock

Golden Retriever Training Tips

If your goldie is having difficulties with potty training, there are some extra things you can do to help them get the hang of it.

Never Punish

If your Golden Retriever goes to the bathroom inside the house or in the wrong place or you see them about to do so, don’t punish them or yell as this can damage the bond you’re working so hard to build with your dog. It also teaches your dog to fear you, which is something you want to avoid at all costs.

Instead, simply take your dog to the place you want them to use the bathroom. Keep doing this and don’t give up if it takes a bit longer than you’d hoped.

Golden retriever puppy near a pee stain
Image Credit: Kinek00, Shutterstock

Stick To a Feeding Schedule

Having a feeding schedule is a great way to support the bathroom schedule. Without getting too graphic, knowing when your Golden Retriever eats is a surefire way of learning exactly when they’re going to need to use the bathroom as well. This allows you to better prepare for your training sessions.

Take Away the Water Bowl Before Bedtime

It’s a good idea to remove your puppy’s water bowl around 2–3 hours before bedtime to reduce the risk of them needing to go during the night. Do this at the same time every day so your puppy picks up on the routine. Be sure to take them outside again before bed and place some potty pads where your puppy can relieve itself at night.

golden retriever puppy drinking
Image Credit: kathleen collins, Shutterstock

Final Thoughts

Don’t be disheartened if your Golden Retriever doesn’t get it immediately when it comes to potty training. These are smart dogs but they’re not all the same in terms of how long it takes them to have things down packed. With patience, consistency, and a whole lot of love and praise, it will all come together in the end!

If you’re really struggling to potty train your Golden Retriever even after going through the routines consistently for quite a while, you might consider consulting a dog behavioralist or professional trainer for advice.

Featured Image Credit: JulieK2, Shutterstock

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