How To Potty Train a Retriever

Retrievers are friendly, enthusiastic dogs that respond well to affection and training, so learning how to potty (toilet) train a retriever is not a difficult task as long as you approach it in the right way.

How to potty train a retrieverA large part of training a dog involves thinking like a dog. Too many people assume their canine pets are just humans with fur, but nothing could be further from the truth. Dogs are most comfortable and cooperative when there is clear leadership from their owners and when there are boundaries and this applies to how to potty (toilet) train a retriever as well as to other training.

Retriever Potty (toilet) Training Basics

Puppy training takes a lot of patience and persistence so don’t give up too soon.  Be aware that retrievers pee and poo a lot, so you will have to be watchful in learning how to potty (toilet) train a retriever.

  • Routine. Retrievers do very well with a set routine. Aim to take your puppy outside at regular intervals to establish a routine he can rely on. This would be about every 2 hours in the beginning.
  • Leash. Use a leash every time you take him outside to keep him from getting distracted and to get him to associate the leash with toilet training.
  • Simple commands. Choose one command that you will apply every time you take your puppy out. Use something like “Go potty” or “Go now”. Keep it short. Repeat this as he relieves himself.
  • Praise. Whenever your puppy performs the desired action, be sure to give him lots of praise.
  • Accidents happen. Unless you can actually catch your puppy in the act, it is pointless to make a fuss about accidents. Just clean it up and use an odour reducer.

How To Potty Train a Retriever Using a Crate

Crate training can be very handy when it comes to potty (toilet) training as retrievers don’t like to sleep in the same place that they use as a toilet. To get this method to work, remember the following:

  • Crate size. The crate must be big enough only for your puppy to turn around in and stretch out, and no bigger. If it is larger than this he will simply use one corner to sleep and the other corner for elimination.
  • Positive reinforcement. The crate should never be used as a way to punish your puppy. Make sure that he will be happy and willing to be crated by introducing it slowly and with a few treats.
  • Routine. Use the same routine as mentioned before by taking your puppy out of the crate every 2 hours when small and gradually increasing the intervals.
  • Whining and crying. If puppy cries in the crate and you think he needs the toilet, take him outside on a leash. Do not play with him or talk to him and when he is finished put him back. This way he won’t be able to associate crying in the crate with anything other than a pee break.

Whatever method you choose, stick to it and keep a sense of humor. You will soon see how to potty (toilet) train a retriever is quite rewarding and can strengthen the bond between you and your pooch.