How To Transition Potty Training from Recherche Kennels to Your Home
A major pillar of our Puppy Training Institute is House Training, which includes potty training, crate training, stair training, jump training, and chew training. We have a detailed list of goals found on our Puppy Training Institute page. Below are the potty training goals for each level:
- Puppy Academy: Potty Training- 1 hour; Crate Training- 4-5 hours at night.
- Canine College: Potty Training- 2 hours; Crate Training-5-6 hours at night.
- Master’s Program: Potty Training- 3 hours: Crate Training- 6-7 hours at night.
- Doggy Doctorate: Potty Training- 4 hours: Crate Training- 7-8 hours at night
- Doggy Double Doctorate: Potty Training- 5-6 hours: Crate Training- 10+ hours at night.
Please realize that being fully potty trained here doesn’t guarantee they will never have an accident in your house. It’s impossible for any trainer to fully prepare every puppy for every family, every home, and every yard. That’s why we provide these important tips for a smooth transition of your pup from our home to yours.
Below is the playbook on how we potty train your pup. It’s crucial to understand our methods and replicate them. If you don’t follow our advice, your pup will most likely have potty accidents in your house.
Potty training involves setbacks. You still have to follow these steps. The older your pup is, the faster they will transition, typically because they can physically hold their bathroom longer and learn more quickly.
Please note that if your pup is “signaling” to potty here in our home, it doesn’t guarantee they will immediately start signaling in your home. It takes time for them to learn where to potty in your home.
As you learn your pup, you will start recognizing their signals, but it may take several weeks, even with an older trained pup.
Never Trust Your Golden Retriever!
Most importantly, do not trust your Golden Retriever. Recherche Goldens spends two-thirds of their training hours on house training. Nevertheless, we remain vigilant and watch them diligently at all times in the house. The biggest mistake families make is allowing their puppy to roam freely and being shocked to find an “accident” in the bedroom or a shoe chewed up in the laundry room.
Catch Your Puppy “In the Act!”
The greatest success you can have is for your puppy to cry, whine, bark, or even ring a bell to use the restroom outside. The goal of every dog owner is to train their puppy to communicate that they need to use the restroom outside.
The second greatest success may surprise you. Some think that never giving your puppy the opportunity to potty inside is the key. We don’t believe that. We believe in watching your puppy carefully and giving them the chance to communicate. If they don’t communicate and squat down to go, then there’s a golden opportunity to verbally correct your puppy. Whenever we see a puppy start pacing back and forth or circling, we wait and get ready to pounce. At the moment they start squatting, we jump up and strongly correct them verbally with a “Bad!” or “No!” Depending on their proximity, we may also clap our hands and stomp our feet.
The severity of our correction depends on the puppy’s sensitivity (typically the younger the pup, the more sensitive). Some pups are very sensitive and just need a soft “Uh, Uh!” to stop immediately. Some pups are just a little stronger-willed, and it takes a “NO!” for them to stop their potty and be taken outside.
Once they potty outside, we praise them and reward them if we have a treat available. We recommend having a “Lickety Stik” or a small bag of treats by your door to give to your pup. Your English Golden will learn that going inside is wrong while going outside is good.
If a puppy is able to potty out of sight and you were unable to catch them, then you were either too distracted, too busy, or didn’t block them off. Always make sure they are being watched, as they can and will wander off and get into trouble. If you are diligently watching them and they have an accident, you can correct them in that same moment.
Never correct a puppy after the fact. Dogs do not understand “after the fact.” They will not understand why they are being corrected if you do so after they have an accident. Never “rub your dog’s nose in it.” English cream Golden Retrievers are very sensitive and smart. They want to please you. Physically correcting them will simply make your Golden Retriever afraid of you. You will lose their trust, and continued training will be hampered.
Be Mindful of Pitfalls for Goldens!
Recherche Goldens spot trains every puppy, and we never allow our pups to use the restroom on hard surfaces. We train our pups to use the restroom only on pine shavings, grass, or dirt. They are trained to do this even before they are weaned.
On the other hand, there are certain areas of a home that can be problematic for puppies. These areas appear very similar to grass or dirt. Common areas for accidents include carpets, rugs, and doggy beds, among others. Whenever they are in these areas, they may believe it’s a designated potty spot and be more prone to eliminate there. Watch them carefully in these areas.
If your puppy has an accident, clean it up very well to eliminate the smell by using a carpet cleaner like Nature’s Miracle Urine Destroyer. Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, and if they can still detect residue on the spot where they eliminated, they will be more likely to use that area for elimination repeatedly. If they consistently eliminate in the same spot, another helpful tactic you can try is to feed them in that area. Dogs naturally avoid sleeping or eating where they eliminate, so this can help discourage them.
Know Your Golden Retriever’s “Schedule!”
Remember that a puppy will need to use the restroom after it wakes up, after naps, after playing hard, and after eating. During the day, a 12-week-old puppy (Puppy Academy) usually will not hold it for longer than 1-2 hours at a time. A 16-week-old pup (Canine College) can hold it for around 2-3 hours, and a 6-month-old (Doggy Doctorate) can hold it for around 3-4 hours. If you keep a consistent schedule with feeding and pottying it, it will be much faster at mastering potty training at your home.
We feed our dogs first thing in the morning around 8 am and again at 2-3 pm. We feed them around 1 ½ cups of food at each sitting. If they are having problems with constant urination, then perhaps it would help to monitor their water intake. Some Golden Retrievers love water… I mean LOVE water.
In the Beginning…
The beginning phase, just after arriving home, is crucial. Make sure you teach it where to potty. Take it to the exact same spot to potty every time. Take your Golden out the exact same door every time. Use the same keyword when pottying your puppy (like “Let’s Go” or “Potty”). Treat your pup when it potties where it is supposed to. Buy some pine shavings and sprinkle them around where you want your pup to use the restroom.
Some families have even purchased bells or the Tell Bell and put them on the door. You can teach your English Golden Retriever to ring the bells or Tell Bell every time it needs to use the restroom. There are many great YouTube video tutorials on doing this. One of them can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQTTm5YeqEI.