Goldendoodle Potty Training (2023)
When Can you Start to Potty Train a Goldendoodle Puppy?
As a new goldendoodle puppy owner, and especially if it is your first puppy, you are bound to have questions about your new family member. Goldendoodle puppies are fluffy, innocent, and absolutely adorable, but they can also be incredibly demanding and exhausting to care for. A common problem for new puppy owners is house training, and many struggle to get their brand new family member potty trained.
In most cases, the issue isn’t really an issue at all, but a result of the new dog owners being too impatient. It is normal for a 12-week-old puppy to have accidents all over the house, for example, but there are methods you can use to help your pooch on the right track. Patience is key, but check out these tips and tricks for how to housetrain a puppy.
Initiating Potty Training
There is no set standard for when a potty training process should be initiated, but you can generally start the first day you bring your new golden doodle puppy home. It is important to remember that an 8-week-old puppy is not yet physically capable of controlling their small bladders and that you are likely to have some days when things seem to be going in the right direction, and others when there appears to be a potty training regression.
It is pointless to expect too much of a puppy that doesn’t actually have proper bladder control yet, but you can start laying a foundation with a regular schedule, even if the puppy is young.
Before you bring home a puppy or an adult dog that isn’t potty trained, take a moment to puppy proof your house. There are a few things you can do to make house training less stressful. The number one tip is to remove any carpets in the area where your puppy will be allowed to roam; there will be accidents, and it is a lot easier to clean the floor compared to cleaning a carpet.
Removing your favorite carpets might not feel great, but remember, it is only temporary. If your house has carpeted floors, then perhaps it would be a good idea to cover them up. Head to a flea market, second-hand shop, or check Facebook Marketplace for old mats, carpets, or thick blankets. These can be put over your regular carpet to prevent puppy pee from getting onto something you can’t just pick up and wash. You can even put a layer of disposable puppy pads in between if protecting your floors is important to you.
What you are trying to do is to prepare your home – not for the puppy’s sake, as they won’t care where they pee, but to make cleanup less of a hassle for you as a new dog owner.
What You Need
Some dog owners prefer to wing it and just take potty training as it comes, while others feel more comfortable preparing. If you belong to category number two, there are a few items you can purchase ahead of bringing home your puppy or adult dog. Pick out the items you believe you could benefit from and make your own puppy potty training kit.
- Absorbent Mop
- Pet-Friendly Cleaning Solution
- Potty Pads / Pee Pad
- Stain & Odor Remover
- Potty Bells (Optional)
- Paper Towels
- Dog Waste Bags
You choose if you want to invest in puppy pads (more on this a few sections down) and doggy doorbells, but you will inevitably need cleaning supplies. Even if you’ve been told that your future dog is already potty trained, many dogs experience temporary regression when moving to a new home.
What to Expect
The short answer is to expect the unexpected. You can be watching your puppy at all times, and you will still find pee and puppy poop on the floor. How do they do it? No one knows. It is important to understand that puppies don’t automatically comprehend what is expected of them, and that they don’t have accidents to annoy you. An accident is not a reflection of your capacity to train your dog, but simply something that is to be expected in the beginning.
It is common to feel a little overwhelmed when raising a young puppy, and many dog owners experience the puppy blues. The stress of potty training rarely helps, and the best thing you can do is to prepare yourself mentally for accidents. Expect and prepare for the worst so that you can focus on celebrating the small wins. Your puppy might surprise you.
The only thing that will get you through the puppy stage is patience. Puppies are often difficult, challenging, and exhausting, but they are also innocent like little children. Whenever you feel yourself losing patience, remember that your puppy is not challenging you or “being difficult” – it’s just being a puppy. Your little furry friend wants to please you but doesn’t know how just yet.
Establishing a Potty Routine
You can’t expect your puppy to learn if you are uncertain of how to teach. Having a consistent schedule will make it easier for both you and your dog to reach the ultimate goal – successful housetraining, and it will prevent you from blaming your dog for what might actually be your own mistakes or errors. Let’s have a look at how to set up a realistic potty routine for your pup.
Frequent Potty Breaks
Puppies need to go outside – a lot. A young puppy should preferably be taken outside after eating, sleeping, playing, and any other activity, and if they end up having an accident it is basically a sign of you not being fast enough. Frequent trips outside to a designated potty area are one of the most important first steps to a potty training schedule.
Choosing a Designated Spot
Don’t complicate things and pick a spot where you put your puppy down when you go outside. Dogs are habitual and enjoy routine, and by giving your puppy a specific spot to do its needs, you make it easier for him or her to understand what is expected. The area will have the puppy’s scent – motivating your furry family member to sniff and squat. Keep in mind that dogs are generally more inclined to do their business on absorbent surfaces, such as grass or dirt.
Rewards or Verbal Praise
Let your puppy or puppies know when they get it right! Use healthy treats and/or verbal praise to celebrate the moment when the dog pees or poops, but wait until they are finished to avoid distracting them in the act.
If you plan to use treats, make sure you have the treats with you outside, as it needs to be given to the dog at the right moment. Dog owners sometimes make the mistake of taking the dog out, having him do his business, and then going back to the kitchen for the reward. This could send a signal to the dog that what you want is just for them to go outside and come back in, and failing to understand that you are rewarding them for pottying outside.
Lots of praise is a great way to acknowledge the desired behavior, and while you might feel a little silly with your high-pitched and happy voice in the middle of the night when all you want to do is sleep – your enthusiasm will give your puppy a positive experience and motivate him or her to want to repeat the same behavior next time.
Never Punish the Dog
As frustrating as you get when you find yet another pile of dog poop on your hardwood floor – take a deep breath and never punish your dog. Punishment will only frighten your fur friend and put a dent in the trust you have worked to build up.
In most cases, your new pet won’t even understand what you are punishing him for, especially if you didn’t see it happen, and then you will only come across as a mean human yelling for reasons the dog can’t comprehend. Dogs live in the now, so if they peed on your favorite carpet while you were out running errands, they won’t know why you’re suddenly mad when you get home.
When talking about potty training, you tend to get the odd comment that you should push your dog’s nose into its own pee, but this is completely false and not a good way to address the potty accident. Punishment does not belong in dog training, and a professional dog trainer will always recommend positive reinforcement methods focused on rewarding correct behavior rather than punishing mistakes.
The Unexpected Downside of Punishment
To further demonstrate why it is a mistake to punish a dog from doing its business inside – consider this. What happens if we lose our temper, yell, and punish our puppy when we see him or her squat on the floor?
A potential outcome is that the puppy understands the following: It is wrong to pee when your human is watching. The result will be a dog that won’t do his business when you take him out, and that will instead hide away and do it once you get back inside. Many dog owners are unaware of what punishment-based potty training can cause, and it is yet another point for positive reinforcement methods when trying to train a dog.
One thing you are likely to hear when it comes to potty training a dog is the importance of restricting the puppy’s access to help maintain good behavior. You might assume that access restriction always means using dog crates with crate training, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Some opt for crate training their dogs, but successful potty training is not dependent on crates if that isn’t something you want to do.
Access restriction, however, can mean many different things depending on the dog and depending on your own preferences. It can mean something as simple as closing the door to a room where you don’t want your puppy to have accidents, or using doggy gates (or baby gates) and mesh dividers to seal off a small area.
By limiting your puppy’s access to your living space, it becomes easier to keep track of accidents and prevent accidents through close supervision. How much you should restrict your puppy’s access depends on you and your dog, and there is no right or wrong answer.
Teaching a Potty Cue
While you are potty training your dog, you can take the opportunity to teach a cue that can later be used to ask your dog to go do their needs. What cue you prefer is up to you, but common potty cues are “go pee” or “go potty.”
Say your chosen cue right before your puppy pees, and not while they are doing their business as it could interrupt them. When you see that they are about to pee (sniffing, circling, etc, etc), say your cue, wait, and give plenty of praise once the dog is done. This important step is all about timing. The purpose of this is that you will later be able to ask your potty-trained dogs to go relieve themselves, which is convenient when you are in a hurry or just need your dogs to finish their toilet routine.
Using potty bells is a popular bell method. These types of small bells are placed by the door, and the idea is that the dog should be able to let you know when he or she needs to go outside. Before you can get to this stage, you need to teach your puppy to ring the bells the right way.
Place the potty bells at an appropriate height for your dog, and ring them yourself every time you go outside. This is potentially a slow process and your dog is likely to take a while to catch on, but stay consistent, and prepare for a few setbacks such as these intelligent dogs outsmarting you and ringing the bells just because they want to be outside.
Monitoring Water & Food Intake
Having a schedule for when to feed your puppy helps predict their bowel movements, and, as a result, prevents accidents. Puppies that have free access to food might eat almost constantly throughout the day, which will lead to a need for more frequent bathroom breaks. Scheduling your dog’s feedings, on the other hand, gives you the advantage of knowing when your dog is likely to need to go out.
How about water? While some may recommend removing the dog’s water bowl at a certain hour at night, and not taking it out again until morning, we prefer to promote having water available for dogs at all times. Imagine being thirsty and not finding water to drink? Yes, it might take a few days longer to get your puppy to sleep through the night, but more likely than not – it won’t make much of a difference.
Marking Territory vs. Housetraining Issue
It is important to start by determining if your dog pees inside because he isn’t housetrained, or because he is marking territory. We call this imaginary dog a “he” for convenience, but female dogs can also mark. Sometimes, when you adopt a dog or take in a dog older than 8 weeks old, it can be difficult to know if the indoor potty accidents are a sign that the dog is not housebroken, or if they are just letting everyone know that the house is now theirs.
In general, puppies younger than 3 months old do not tend to mark territory yet, and in most cases, marking does not start until the dog is at least 6 months old. After that, it can be harder to tell, but one thing you can look at is the amount. A dog that marks usually targets vertical surfaces, and it can be nothing but a few drops while a dog that isn’t housetrained often empties its bladder.
Puppy Pads – Yes or No?
A common concern is that puppy pads could make the puppy think that it is okay to pee inside the house, and the question is – is there any truth to this? The thing is, it depends entirely on how you use the puppy pads.
There are many benefits to giving your dog an assigned spot to do their business indoors, such as when they can’t make it outside in time, or if you are late home from work. Just because a dog knows they are allowed to pee on a pad does not necessarily mean they won’t understand the concept of holding their bladder, and it can actually be an asset when potty training.
Different Types of Puppy Pads
You have the option of using disposable puppy pads, artificial grass pads, or real grass, depending on what you feel works better for you. The artificial grass pads need to be cleaned, which is the main difference, but they can also last for years – making it a one-time investment.
If you opt for disposable pads, you can place the pad in a cat litter box (without the litter) or a similar type of plastic container. Such a setup makes it less likely that the puppy will try and play with the pad or chew on it, and it also protects the floor underneath if any puppy pee would leak through.
How to Use a Puppy Pad
The key to success lies in making the puppy understand what the pad is for. If your little one pees on the floor, you can try soaking the pad in the pee, to give it that scent dogs (for reasons unknown) can’t seem to resist. You want to help the puppy understand what the pad is for.
Also, don’t move the pads around too much, and pick a fixed location for the puppy to learn where to find it. This will help the dog understand that the pad is a toilet, and the rest of the house is not.
Whether you want to use puppy pads is entirely up to you. It might not be a good fit for every dog and every household, but many dog owners like knowing that their dog has somewhere to use the bathroom if they are not around to take their pups out.
Going Out at Night
Expect to have to take your puppy out at least once a night in the beginning. Young puppies can’t hold it long enough to sleep through the night, and it is common for an 8-week-old puppy to need multiple potty breaks despite being mostly inactive and sleeping. You will be tired, and you might even wish you hadn’t got a puppy (the puppy blues is a real thing), but just keep in mind that it is normal.
A good strategy is to set your alarm to take the puppy out two times per night in the beginning, and if the puppy seems to be doing good – set only one alarm, until you can eventually stop taking your puppy out at nighttime.
When you do take your puppy out – avoid playing and talking. You want your puppy to understand that it isn’t playtime, and the best way to do this is by simply carrying the dog outside, setting it down, letting it do its business, and carrying it back inside. You can use praise when your pup does pees or poops successfully, but other than that, you want to avoid talking and making a big deal out of the outing. Why? To make sure the puppy doesn’t start waking you up to go outside and play.
How to Deal with Accidents
There will be accidents. Period. When you have a new puppy, there will inevitably be accidents – probably a lot of accidents. It can be frustrating to step in pee when you walk barefoot across your living room floor or have to clean up your dog’s business dozens of times every day, but the good news is that this unwanted behavior will get better with proper training and hard work.
The thing is – this is what it is like to have a puppy, and the only thing you can do is to take a deep breath and keep cleaning products close at hand during the first few months or until your dog is housetrained.
Why Cleaning Matters
A common mistake is failing to clean up properly after your dog. You might think that it’s enough to soak up the dog pee with a paper towel, but this will leave a scent there which could motivate the dog to go back and pee in the same spot again later.
Dogs have a tendency to pee where other dogs have peed, or they may choose a spot where they like to do their business. You don’t want this spot to be inside the house, and that’s why proper cleaning is so important when a pup has indoor accidents. Use a quality cleaning product like a dog stain and odor eliminator, a dog urine neutralizer, a cleaning spray for pet odors, or any other similar cleaning product.
The benefit of using a pet-specific cleaning product is that it is supposedly safe to use in a home with pets, even though you should always keep cleaning products and supplies out of reach from your dogs.
Managing Your Expectations
Perhaps you heard about your friend’s puppy that was fully potty trained at 12 weeks old, and now that your own puppy is the same age – you can’t for your life figure out what you are doing wrong. Is it you? Is it the puppy? The truth is – it is neither. All puppies are different, and it is important to acknowledge this and to not ask too much from your dog.
Your little furry friend might be doing much better than you think, and the only way to see and celebrate the dog’s achievements is by lowering your own expectations. Your dog won’t learn everything at the same pace as your neighbor’s dog, and that’s okay.
Puppies are like children in that sense – some start walking and talking early, others take longer. However, in the end, most children can walk and talk just the same, regardless of how long it took them to learn. Give your puppy a chance to impress you and don’t ask too much, too soon.
Rule Out Medical Issues
This article is all about housetraining a puppy or adult dog, but if you suddenly notice a change in your dog’s potty routine, such as if they start doing their business inside after having been housebroken for months, or if they need to go out more frequently – it may be time for a trip to the vet.
You want to rule out any health problems, like a urinary tract infection (UTI), before you start considering a behavioral issue or a potty training regression. Puppies can regress in their potty training due to disruptions in their routine, big changes (moving houses, adding another dog, a new baby, etc, etc.), but a housebroken adult dog that starts peeing on the floor – seemingly out of nowhere – might need a vet check.
Consistency is key when housetraining a puppy or adult dog, and accidents are often a result of dog owner failure, and of not taking the dog out quickly enough.
Recognizing your own role in your dog’s potty training success is the first step towards having a perfectly housetrained dog.
Some dogs are potty trained within a few weeks, others within a few months and some can take up to a year to potty train. Expecting your puppy to be potty trained too soon will only cause frustration and disappointment, which isn’t fair to your furry friend. The most important thing is to have a lot of patience and reward the rights instead of punishing the wrongs.