How To Potty Bell Train Your Puppy



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Imagine this: you’re in the zone with work or soaking up some peaceful solitude, and then—yep, there it is—that telltale wet spot on the carpet. Wouldn’t it be great if your puppy could give you a heads-up before those little “toileting” accidents? We know all too well that the path to potty training is littered with these tiny mishaps.

Potty bell training can help!

How To Potty Bell Train Your Puppy. Picture of a dog sitting looking at bell.

Why Potty Bell Training is Important

Guide dogs for the blind are trained to make contact with a string of bells hanging from the door, making potty bell training an effective and reliable method for all dogs.

Potty bell training is helpful because accidents can occur when people are distracted and don’t notice their dog waiting to go out. Potty bells provide a straightforward communication method for your dog to let you know when they need to go outside.

Potty accidents occur when people are distracted

Life gets busy, and it’s easy to lose time when caught up in work calls or household chores. Unlike guide dogs trained to signal with bells, your dog doesn’t always make a noticeable fuss when they need to step outside.

This lack of communication leads to the all-too-common wet surprises on your floors.

You understand how crucial it is to maintain alertness for your pup’s cues. But let’s face it: continuously checking the door isn’t practical amidst your daily hustle and bustle. That’s where potty bell training steps in as a game-changer – ringing bells are much easier to hear than constantly scanning for a waiting dog, significantly cutting down on those accident risks.

Guide dogs for the blind are trained to make contact with a string of bells hanging from the door

Take your cues from the expert training techniques used with guide dogs for people who are blind. These incredible animals use a simple yet effective alert system to demonstrate how vital nonverbal communication is.

They learn to gently tap a string of bells hanging from their designated door when they need to go outside. This clear signal allows those with visual impairments to understand their dog’s needs without relying on sight.

Incorporating this method into potty bell training shows your pup how accessible communication works wonders. Like assistance dogs, they can communicate their urge to step out by nudging the bells with their nose or paws.

It’s more than just teaching them a trick; it’s about forging an understanding that transcends words, ensuring that you’ll hear and respond to their call even if you’re not looking directly at them.

Step-by-Step Guide to Potty Bell Training

  1. hang the bells on or near the door before letting your puppy out in the morning.
  2. Introduce the bells to your pup without shaking them at the dog.
    1. Allow your dog to sniff/lick the bells, and if your puppy is interested, say, ‘Good puppy!’ and take the puppy out to the toilet/walk.
    1. If your puppy shows no interest, add a little smear of peanut butter or cream cheese to the bell, and when it shows an interest, say, ‘Good puppy! And then take the puppy outside to the toilet.
  3. After toileting, move the bells out of the way of the puppy – as it will want to lick the bells to remove any treat residue.
  4. Wait a bit before making the bells accessible to your puppy again – you only want your dog to touch them when they need to go outside to potty. If necessary, smear a little more peanut butter on the bell (this is usually necessary if your pup is avoiding the bells).
  5. Listen for your pup going to the bells to sniff/lick/nose the bells.
  6. Guide your dog to touch the bells with their nose so that they ring, praise them, and take them outside.

Step 1: Hang the bells on or near the door before letting the dog out in the morning

We start the day by hanging bells where your dog can easily reach them, either on or near the door we use for their morning bathroom break. This sets the stage for associating the sound with going outside to potty.

As early as 11 weeks old, puppies can begin bell training, which taps into their natural behaviour and intelligence.

It’s essential to place these bells at a height where your puppy (or dog) can nudge them with their nose or paw. Encourage curiosity towards this new object in their environment, but don’t overwhelm them with too much excitement.

Now that the bells are in place, you’re ready to introduce your pup (or dog) to this practical training method during its usual routine.

Step 2: Introduce the bells to the dog without shaking them, and use treats if necessary to encourage interest

Introducing the bells to your puppy is essential in potty bell training. Begin by letting your pup explore the bells without making noise, allowing them to become familiar with their presence.

If needed, entice your puppy’s interest with treats (peanut butter or cream cheese) as they investigate the new addition to the door. Positive reinforcement through rewards can help create a positive association with the bells and encourage further interaction.

Once your puppy shows interest in the bells, it’s time to move on to Step 3 of potty bell training, guiding them toward associating ringing the bells with going outside for a bathroom break.

Step 3: After eliminating and returning to the house, hang the bells up and replenish the treat on the bell if necessary

Once the dog has eliminated and returned to the house, hang the bells back up near the door. If necessary, we replenish the treat on the bell to maintain interest. This step helps solidify an association between ringing the bell and going outside, reinforcing positive behaviour with a reward.

Replenishing a treat on the bell serves as positive reinforcement for touching or nudging them in future instances, continuing to strengthen their understanding of this command. This is only necessary if your puppy is reluctant or avoiding the bells.

Step 4: Guide the dog to touch the bells with their nose so the contact causes the bell to ring, praise the dog, and immediately take them out to do their business

After eliminating and returning to the house, hang the bells up and replenish the treat on the bell if necessary. Encouraging your dog to press its nose against the bells effectively signals that it needs to go outside.

Praising them and taking them outside immediately reinforces the correlation between ringing the bell and getting to go out, fostering a quicker learning process.

Regarding training dogs with this method, patience is vital as different dogs grasp this trained behaviour at varying rates – some may understand

Helpful Hints for Potty Bell Training for Your Dog. Picture of a dog sitting pressing a bell.

Helpful Hints for Potty Bell Training for Your Dog

Sit beside the door and bells to wait for the puppy to get anxious and encourage them to touch the bell, using their frustration of being shut out of the door to teach them to scratch or nudge the bells.

Wait for the puppy to get anxious

By waiting for the puppy to get anxious, you allow it to communicate its needs effectively and reinforce the desired behaviour.

Observing your puppy’s cues can help you understand when they must go out without relying solely on scheduled bathroom breaks. It empowers your puppy to communicate its needs while strengthening its understanding of using the bells as part of its potty routine.

Encourage them to touch the bell

Encouraging your puppy to touch the bell is crucial in potty training. By associating the sound of the bell with going outside, your puppy will quickly learn to signal when they need to go potty.

Use positive reinforcement like treats and praise each time they interact with the bell, reinforcing this behaviour consistently until it becomes second nature for them.

When you see your puppy showing interest in the bells or touching them, even accidentally, make sure to reward their action promptly. This approach trains them to associate the sound of the bell with a positive outcome, making it more likely that they will continue to use it as their communication tool.

Final Thoughts on Potty Bell Training Your Puppy

Potty bell training offers an efficient and practical solution for teaching puppies to signal when they need to go outside. The step-by-step guide emphasises the simplicity of hanging the bells, introducing them to the dog, and guiding their interaction with the bells. It’s an excellent way for your pup to let you know it needs to go outside!

You may find these articles helpful:

Why You Should Teach Your Dog To Be Calm

What Do I Need When Bringing Home A Puppy

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