I’ve been a dog owner for my whole life, and in that time, I’ve tried every potty training method under the sun. From letting my dogs free range in the backyard to setting up a designated “potty area” with fake grass, I’ve experimented with just about everything.
So when a friend recently told me about potty bell training, it intrigued me. Could this be the answer to all my potty training woes?
Training Your Puppy With a Potty Bell
What Is Potty Bell Training?
Potty bell training is a method of potty training that relies on positive reinforcement. The basic idea is that you train your dog to ring a bell when they need to go outside to relieve themselves.
When they ring the bell, you take them outside and praise them for going to the appropriate spot. Over time, they learn that ringing the bell means they get to go outside, and they will start ringing it whenever they need to go.
The Pros of Potty Bell Training
There are a few potential benefits to potty bell training. First, it can be less messy than other methods since you’re not dealing with any kind of fake grass or pads. It also gives your dog a way to communicate their needs to you directly, which can be helpful if you live in an apartment or have a busy schedule. And last, it can be fun for both you and your dog!
Watching your pup learn how to ring the bell will bring a smile to your face.
The Cons of Potty Bell Training
Potty bell training isn’t without its drawbacks, though. It requires a lot of patience and consistency on your part. You need to be there to reinforce the behavior every single time your dog rings the bell, or else they’ll get confused and won’t learn anything.
Potty bell training doesn’t work for every dog; some pups just aren’t motivated by the positive reinforcement of treats and praise. If that’s the case with your dog, try another method altogether.
My Experience With Potty Bell Training
I gave potty bell training a try with my most recent puppy, and I have mixed feelings about it so far. On the one hand, she’s definitely getting the hang of ringing the bell when she needs to go out. But she still has accidents inside occasionally (although that could just be because she’s still a puppy).
Overall, I think potty bell training is worth a shot if you’re looking for something new to try, but don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work out perfectly right away. Like with any potty training method, success takes time and patience!
Dos and Don’ts
Do: Choose the Right Bell
There are a lot of different potty bells on the market, but not all of them are created equal. When choosing a bell for your puppy, make sure it is small enough that they can comfortably ring it with their paw or nose.
It should also be loud enough that you can hear it from another room. And finally, choose a bell that has a pleasant sound. After all, you’ll be hearing it A LOT.
Don’t: Get Frustrated
Potty training is a process, and it’s going to take some time for your puppy to learn how to use the bell correctly. They will probably have accidents, and they may not ring the bell every time they need to go outside. It’s important to be patient and consistent with your training. The more frustrated you get, the harder it will be for your puppy to learn.
Do: Reward Good Behavior
Whenever your puppy rings the bell, make sure to give them lots of praise and a treat. This will help them associate good behavior with positive reinforcement and make it more likely that they’ll continue ringing the bell in the future.
Don’t: Forget to Take Them Out Regularly
Even if your puppy is ringing the bell consistently, you still need to take them out for regular potty breaks throughout the day. Puppies have small bladders and can’t hold it for very long. If you wait too long between potty breaks, accidents are bound to happen.
How Does Bell Training Work?
The idea behind bell training is simple: when your puppy needs to go potty, he rings the bell. You then take him outside so he can relieve himself. With enough repetition, your pup will learn that ringing the bell means it’s time to go outside to do his business.
One benefit of bell training is that it gives your puppy a way to communicate his needs to you. Rather than having accidents inside or waiting until it’s too late, he can let you know right away when he needs to go out. This makes the whole potty training process much easier for both of you!
How to Do It
Before you get started, you’ll need a few supplies:
- A potty bell (You can find these at most pet stores or online.)
- A treat pouch (This will come in handy for rewarding your pup.)
- A supply of your pup’s favorite treats
Step One: Hang the Potty Bell
Choose a spot near your door where you’ll be able to hang the potty bell within your pup’s reach. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, use a command like “go potty” or “outside” as you hang the bell. This will help your pup associate the bell with going outside.
Step Two: Teach Your Pup to Ring the Bell
Now it’s time to teach your pup how to ring the bell. Start by holding a treat close to the bell and letting your pup smell it while ringing the bell yourself. As they sniff the treat, use your command word (“go potty,” “outside,” etc.).
Once they’ve associated the treat with the command, give them the cue to ring the bell (we like to say “touch”). As they paw at the bell, click or say “yes!” and give them the treat. Repeat this process until they are ringing the bell consistently.
Step Three: Put It Into Practice
Now that your pup knows how to ring the bell, it’s time to put their new skills into practice. Whenever you take them outside for a potty break, give them the cue to ring the bell before you open the door. As they ring the bell, open the door and praise them enthusiastically.
Once they’ve done their business, reward them with a treat from your pouch. Soon they’ll learn that ringing the bell means good things happen!
Step Four: Troubleshooting Tips
If your pup is having trouble ringing the bell, here are a few troubleshooting tips:
- Make sure you’re using high-value treats that they really want.
- Try hanging the bell at different heights until you find one that’s just right for your pup.
- Encourage them by clapping or saying “good job” as they paw at the bell.
- If all else fails, consult a professional trainer for help.
With these four easy steps, you’ll have your puppy ringing their very own potty bell in no time! Just remember to be patient and keep those treats handy—your puppy is bound to make mistakes along the way, but with some practice (and positive reinforcement), they’ll get it, eventually!
Common Mistakes to Avoid
One of the most common mistakes people make when bell training is not being consistent. If you only ring the bell sometimes or forget to have your pup ring it before going outside, he’ll get confused, and the entire process will take longer. So be sure to ring the bell every single time you take him out!
Another mistake people make is not taking their pup out often enough. Puppies need to go potty frequently throughout the day, so if you’re only taking him out once or twice, he’s not getting enough opportunities to practice ringing the bell.
Aim for at least 4-5 trips outside each day, and more if possible. The more chances he has to ring the bell, the faster he’ll learn!
On the other note, if you’re having difficulty potty training your puppy in winter, read our article on this.
What is bell training?
Bell training is a method of potty training puppies in which they learn to ring a bell with their paw in order to signal that they need to go outside. This method is one of the most humane and effective ways to potty train a puppy.
How long does it take to bell train a puppy?
The time it takes to bell train a puppy varies depending on the individual puppy. Some puppies may learn the behavior quickly, while others may take longer. However, most puppies should be able to learn the behavior with consistent training within a few weeks.
What age should I start bell training my puppy?
You can start bell training your puppy as soon as they are old enough to walk, typically around 8 weeks of age. However, if you start too early, your puppy may not have the attention span or motor skills necessary to learn the behavior.
If you start too late, your puppy may already have developed bad habits that will be difficult to break. The best time to start bell training is around 12 weeks of age.
How to get your puppy to stop playing with the potty bell?
The first thing you need to do is figure out why your puppy is playing with the bell. Is it because they’re bored? Or maybe they just think it’s a toy? Once you know the reason, you can start working on a solution.
If your puppy is playing with the bell because they’re bored, try giving them more attention and toys to play with. Make sure they have plenty of things to keep them occupied so they don’t get bored and start playing with the bell again.
If your puppy is playing with the bell because they think it’s a toy, you’ll need to be more firm with them. Whenever they play with it, say “no” in a stern voice as long as they are not exhibiting signs of needing to go out to potty. After a few times of doing this, they should understand that the bell is not a toy and that they should only use it when they need to go outside.
Bell training is a popular method for potty training puppies, but it’s important to do your research before you start. Make sure you choose the right bell and be patient with your puppy as they learn how to use it correctly. Reward good behavior with praise and treats, and don’t forget to take them out regularly for potty breaks.
With a little time and patience, your puppy will be potty trained in no time!
How about you? Have you tried potty bell training? Tell us your experience in the comment box below. Thanks for reading!