Are Golden Retrievers Easy to Potty Train?

Charming, confident, calm, and playful—golden retrievers make amazing family pets. You’ll love them for their easygoing disposition and gentle manner with children. But are golden retrievers easy to potty train?

How soon can you start toilet training golden retriever puppies? And what are the best ways to train them? Let’s find out more about this lovable breed.


Golden retriever temperament

Golden retrievers were bred to be hunting dogs. Being patient, calm, and hardworking is in their genes. When trained well, these dogs can sit quietly for hours during a hunt.

When given a task, goldens will work until they collapse. They have the ability to focus on the task without getting distracted. If you have a golden retriever, you need to watch for signs of fatigue to avoid overworking him.

The golden retriever is one of the smartest dog breeds in the world. In fact, it ranks fourth in the Intelligence of Dogs list, just after the border collie, poodle, and German shepherd.

The breed’s intellect, combined with its reliable work ethic and willingness to follow orders, is what makes it a valuable work dog. Around the world, goldens are trained to serve as rescue dogs, service dogs, bomb-sniffing dogs, tracking dogs, mobility assistance dogs, and drug-detection dogs. 

Golden retrievers also make excellent therapy dogs. They have a calming effect on people in crisis, elderly patients with Alzheimer’s, and people dealing with serious illness. These outgoing dogs are friendly with everyone, including people they don’t know.

Goldens are also amiable with other dogs and animals, including cats and livestock. They’re not aggressive, and they don’t get as territorial as other dog breeds. Golden retrievers make ideal family pets because they tend to be apathetic to children pulling on their tails or grabbing their fur.

Golden retriever trainability

Golden retrievers are famous for being highly trainable. They are able to take direction well and have an innate need to please their owners. These dogs thrive on praise and affection and will work hard to earn a reward.

According to the Golden Retriever Club of America, it is important that you start training a golden retriever pup between the ages of 2 and 4 months. Training and socialization during this critical developmental period will set the foundation for a lifetime of good behavior both at home and in public.

Training involves potty training and teaching your golden retriever pup the most important commands like “sit,” “come,” and “stay.” It also includes crate training, leash training, and teaching your pup how to do basic skills like fetching.

Early socialization involves exposing your golden retriever pup to all the stimuli that he will encounter as an adult. This includes visitors to your home, strangers you encounter on walks, car rides, unfamiliar places, loud and crowded environments, parks, busy streets, cafes, and shopping malls. The goal is to teach your pup that the world is a safe place and to let him get used to routine situations. 

While golden retrievers are easy to train, you still need to be patient with them, especially if you’re training puppies. Golden retrievers are social creatures that are sensitive to your moods. Punishment and scolding will only create a rift between you and your dog and will make training harder.

How to potty train a golden retriever

Potty training your golden retriever pup will make your life easier. The bond you create during training will also make both you and your pet happier.

Here are some tips so you can start off on the right foot.

  1. When you bring him home

Start potty training your golden the day you bring him home. Show him where he should be doing his business and let him sniff around. If he poops or pees in the right spot, give him a reward.

During that first day, keep returning him to the same general area every half hour or so. Establish that it’s the right place for potty breaks by giving him a reward and lots of praise every time he pees or poops in the area. He’ll eventually associate the smells there with toilet time.

  1. Maintain a schedule

Regular feedings will lead to regular toilet breaks. Make sure you provide meals at the same time every day. Don’t give food, other than a treat here and there for good behavior, between meals.

Take your golden retriever pup outside immediately after meals and then 20 minutes after. This will increase the chances of him pooping or peeing in the right spot. If your puppy is just a few weeks old, take him outside every hour and after naps as well.

  1. Tips for peaceful potty training
  • Layout newspaper or absorbent puppy pads to give your pup somewhere to poop and pee indoors if he can’t get outside quickly. These will also be useful if you’re not home to take your dog outside.
  • If your puppy has an “accident,” clean up the mess as soon as possible. This will keep your pup from resoiling the same spot.
  • Be patient, consistent, and positive. Don’t punish or yell at your pup for making a mess. This will only scare him and make him resistant to training.
  • If you catch your dog peeing or pooping where he shouldn’t clap loudly to stop him. Then encourage him to follow you outside. If he finishes pooping or peeing outside, praise him or give him a reward.

Are golden retrievers easy to potty train? Yes, they are. For the best results, remember to use positive reinforcement techniques when training your golden retriever.

About the author

Sarah Andrews

Hi I'm Sarah, dog lover and blogger. I was born into a dog-loving family and have been a proud doggy mommy ever since I can remember. I love sharing my dog knowledge and love being an active part of the dog-loving community.