How to Potty Train a Labrador Retriever Puppy

Medium
3-8 Weeks
General

Introduction

Your Labrador Retriever puppy is going to be a great companion. He will want to work hard around the house, play a lot, and work to please you. When it’s time to start training, trust your Lab puppy is going to do his best to learn everything he can during every training session. 

Potty training your puppy will be easy as long as you are dedicated to setting him up to succeed. He is intelligent and easy to train. You can begin training your Labrador Retriever puppy where to go potty and how to communicate his needs to you as soon as you bring him home. It will take some time and repetitive training for him to connect all the dots, but he will pick it all up quickly as long as you are getting him to his potty places as soon as you can. 

Defining Tasks

Potty training a Labrador Retriever puppy will require you to have a potty spot set in place before training begins. You should know where you want your little Lab to go potty and avoid making changes to that spot during training. Taking him to his potty spot consistently and on time throughout the day and night will be key to successful potty training your pup. You will need to watch the signs and signals he will give to let you know he needs go. Getting your Lab outside as soon as you see these signals and not letting him have an accident is crucial for conditioning your puppy to let you know he needs to go potty. There will be other times you should be taking your Labrador Retriever puppy outside immediately without waiting for him to give you the signal that he needs to go. These times will include after meals and after waking from any sleep.

Getting Started

You will need to pay attention to your Labrador Retriever puppy for signs he needs to go potty. Also, try to be around to get him outside every few hours before accidents can occur. You’ll need lots of treats for rewarding positive behaviors and patience, as this will take some practice and time. If you find yourself frustrated, try to catch your puppy earlier and get him outside. 

The Open Door Method

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Step
1
Go to the door
Train your Labrador Retriever puppy to go to the door he’ll use each time he needs to go outside to go potty. He can knock on this door, bark at this door, or stand at the door and wait for you to open it. Before you take your pup outside to go potty, take him to this door each time. Avoid carrying your pup outside. Set him down at the door and wait a moment before opening it to let him out.
Step
2
Time to go
When it is time to let your Lab out, take him to the door and have him walk outside on his own after you open the door. Do this when he wakes from a nap or first thing in the morning as well as overnight waking to go potty.
Step
3
After eating
After your Lab puppy has finished eating, take him to the door and have him wait for you to open it. You can knock on the door at his level each time and show him how to knock on it himself. Be sure to take him out to go potty after each meal.
Step
4
On the hour
Depending on your Labrador Retriever puppy’s age, he should be able to hold it for an hour per month of age. Before that time is up, be sure to take him to the door to go outside. Once you are at the door together, wait a moment and then open the door to let him outside.
Step
5
Practice
Be sure you are taking your Labrador Retriever puppy to the door and placing him at the door each time you need to get him outside to go potty.
Step
6
Treats
Give your puppy a treat each time he makes it outside to go potty.
Step
7
Command
As your Labrador Retriever is getting used to going to that door, start using a command such as "go potty" to ask him if that is what he needs. He should be able to go to the door to tell you he needs to go or if you ask using the command, he should start heading to the door on his own.
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The Know Your Puppy Method

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Step
1
Sleep and potty
Know your Labrador Retriever puppy will need to go potty as soon as he wakes up in the morning. It is also likely he will need to go potty upon waking from naps. If your Labrador Retriever puppy is awakened and is whining, the urge to go might be what woke him.
Step
2
Meals and potty
You should know your Labrador Retriever puppy will need to go potty about ten minutes after eating each of his meals. Taking him outside about five to ten minutes after his meals will set him up to going potty outside and not inside.
Step
3
Potty hours
Your puppy can usually wait for one hour before going potty for every month of his age. This means if your Lab is four months old, he should be able to wait about four hours before needing to go potty.
Step
4
Overnight
If you are crate training your Labrador Retriever puppy, he will whine in the middle of the night when he needs to go potty. If you are not crate training, you might want to consider keeping your puppy in a place blocked off from the rest of the house so he does not pee in the house. He should require at least one trip outside overnight for the first few months.
Step
5
Rewards
Be sure to give your puppy a treat each time he goes potty outside. This positive behavior based training will condition him to head out when he needs to go and not have an accident inside.
Step
6
Practice
The moment you let your guard down and aren’t watching or paying attention to your Lab puppy or if you are not letting him out after meals and upon waking or every few hours, he is likely to have more accidents. Keep on top of potty training, as exhausting as it is, and your Labrador Retriever puppy will succeed sooner.
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The Potty Place Method

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Step
1
Choose a place
Pick an area within your yard where you will allow your Labrador Retriever to go potty. If you pick one area, you have a good chance of keeping the rest of your yard beautiful and free of dog poop or dying grass from pee spots.
Step
2
Go outside
Take your puppy to the same place in your yard each time he needs to go potty. This will set him up to go to the same place when he starts to go on his own. While you are walking to the area, use words such as ‘go potty’ so he begins to connect going potty with that area.
Step
3
Know when to go
Your Labrador Retriever puppy will need to be taken out to his potty area as soon as he wakes up from any nap or nighttime sleep. Do not make your pup wait. Be sure to get him outside and to his potty spot so he can go potty without having an accident. He’ll also need to go after each of his meals. Be sure to get him outside to his spot within minutes of eating so he has a chance to go when the urge hits.
Step
4
Hourly
Your Labrador puppy should be able to hold it for one hour per month of age. So if you have a nine week old Labrador Retriever puppy, he should be able to wait about two hours to go potty.
Step
5
Rewards
When you take your puppy to his special place and he goes potty, give him a tasty treat. Offering some enthusiasm will also get your pup excited and proud of his achievement.
Step
6
Redirect
Your Labrador Retriever puppy is likely to have accidents if he is not taken outside to his special potty area on time. Be sure to watch for the signs he needs to go such as sniffing in the house or circling in an area inside. Get him outside right away to go potty. In the event your puppy has an accident, get him outside to his potty spot and try to be there earlier next time. Scolding him will be counterproductive.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Lily
Labrador Retriever
7 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Lily
Labrador Retriever
7 Weeks

I’ve just recently received a chocolate Labrador puppy and right now I’m am trying to crate train and potty train my puppy. She is currently 7 weeks old and has a big problem of doing most of her business in the house and carpet, she is biting too hard and often and she doesn’t listen to me when I call her name. I’ve never raised and trained a puppy and I really just need the help.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
112 Dog owners recommended

Hello Eric, Congratulations on the new puppy! The good news is that all of things that you are dealing with are normal for this age. To work on the potty training, check out the article that I have linked below. I recommend following the "Crate Training" method because it will be the most effective, involve the fewest accidents, and probably work the fastest. You can do a combination of the crate training method and the "Tethering" method too though. At this age, Lilly's maximum bladder capacity is only three hours. She physically cannot hold it for longer than that. To prevent accidents, she needs to be taken outside every hour when you are home, or be in the crate anytime that you need her to hold it for longer. While she is in the crate, her instinct to hold her bladder in a confined space will kick in and help her hold it, but not past three hours. At night her bladder slows down too, letting her hold it for longer than that. Here is the article. It will also cover introducing the crate for crate training, but crying for the first two weeks is normal, so try to stay encouraged and be consistent and it will pay off in the long run. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside For the mouthing biting, check out this article that I have linked below. You can start with the "Bite-Inhibition" method, but also work on teaching the "Leave It" command from the "Leave It" method. Once Lilly is four-to-five months of age, you can then tell her "Leave It" whenever she starts to bite you, and then use the "Pressure" method to gently discipline her if she does not stop when you tell her to "Leave It". You want to start with the "Bite Inhibition" method though, because right now she does not have good control of her mouth and is simply doing what is natural. As you work on that and work on teaching her "Leave It", she should get better at controlling herself and should understand what you want from her. If you go straight to punishment at this age, before teaching those things, then she might get even more excited or crazy because she doesn't understand. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Finally, I suggest looking for a puppy class in your area that allows time for supervised off-leash puppy play, where owners and trainers give the puppies breaks when one puppy seems overwhelmed and helps the puppies play nicely. A class that also practices the owners and classmates handling and touching the puppies while giving treats, to get them used to being handled and groomed, and teaches some basic obedience like sit. Puppy classes are most important for socialization and teaching puppies how to control their mouths through playing with other puppies. Obedience is an added bonus. If you have any friends with puppies who are up to date on shots, then you can also set up play dates at your homes for the puppies, to let them play and learn, and you can give them breaks when one puppy seems to need a break. When you look for a puppy class, look for one that requires all the puppies to be up to date on shots, that cleans the floor where the puppies will be right before they arrive with a cleaner that kills Parvo and Distemper, and when you go carry your puppy in until you get into the enclosed area where only the other puppies are and the floor has been cleaned, to prevent your puppy from catching a disease from another adult that was on property. Puppies catch Parvo from the ground where dog poop has been tracked or through direct contact from infected dogs, so carrying your puppy to keep him away from the uncleaned ground and un-vaccinated dogs helps him stay safe without having to delay puppy class attendance for as long. For a free comprehensive book on puppies you can also go to: www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Check out the "AFTER You Get Your Puppy" ebook. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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