3 Steps to Train Your Puppy to Ring Potty Bells

Blog, Puppy Kindergarten

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Imagine a world where your puppy always tells you when she has to go outside and she never has an accident.

 

Now read on to find out how to make this your reality!

 

Your puppy doesn't know you need him to potty outside until you teach him this skill. In order to teach our puppies where they should be going, we first have to establish some clear guidelines and communication. Most puppies give signals, like sniffing the ground and circling, before they go to the bathroom. These signals can be helpful but require you to constantly have eyes on your dog.

As your little one matures and earns more freedom, it will be helpful to have an audible and reliable signal from your pup that they need to go outside! This is why I recommend potty training bells.

 

What Are Potty Bells?

Potty bells are a housetraining tool, similar to a doorbell, that your puppy learns to ring to alert you when it’s time to go out to potty.

Potty training bells come in many different varieties including:

 

Service Desk or Courtesy Bells

potty bells you place on tables

The courtesy desk housetraining doorbell sits on the floor near the door so your puppy can tap it with her paw when it’s time to go potty.

 

Hanging Bells With Adjustable Strap

hanging bells for potty training your puppy

Hanging bells are so convenient because they can be hung from almost any door handle and adjusted to work well as your puppy grows. With multiple bells suspended from a sturdy strap, these potty training bells are durable, easy for puppies to learn to ring, and easy for you to hear… even if you’re in a different room.

 

Wall Mounted Bells

Although wall mounted housetraining bells might look cool, they aren’t very practical. This type of potty bell must be attached to a wall with screws and adjusted to the proper height. As your puppy grows and ages, you will need to remove and reposition the bell which damages your wall.

 

What Kind of Bell I Recommend For Dog Potty Training

Because your puppy’s reach and mobility change as your pup ages, you need a doorbell solution that is durable, easy to use, and can be easily adjusted. That’s why I recommend using Adjustable Hanging Potty Bells or Courtesy Desk Potty Bells.

 

How To Use Potty Bells

Adjustable Hanging Doorbells

Step 1

Hang the adjustable potty bells next to or near the door you want your puppy to learn to use for bathroom breaks.

Step 2

Adjust the strap so the bottom bells are above the floor and easy for your pup to reach.

Step 3

Teach your pup how to ring the bells when she needs to go outside to potty.

 

potty bells for puppy potty training

 

PRO TIP:  Hang potty bells near the door, instead of on the doorknob, so the bells only ring when your puppy needs to potty. Otherwise, the bells will ring every time the door is opened and your puppy won’t associate the bells with potty time.

 

Courtesy Desk Doorbells

Step 1

Place the bell on the floor near the door you want your puppy to learn to use when he needs to go outside. Ensure the bell is placed so it doesn’t interfere with the way your door swings to open. You don't want the bell to accidentally ring when the door is opened.

Step 2

Teach your pup how to ring the bell to alert you it’s time to go out to potty.

 

How To Train Using Potty Bells

Training a puppy to use potty bells can be broken down into three, easy to follow steps. Grab your potty bells here!

 

3 Steps To Train Your Puppy To Ring Potty Bells

 

Step 1

Buy a set of potty training bells that you will be able to easily hear when your dog rings them. Hang the bells at your dog’s level on the wall next to the main “potty door.” Before going outside, ring the bells yourself and say “Go Potty.” Take your puppy out on a leash to the same location every time. When your pup does his business, repeat “Go Potty” and give your dog a treat. Repeat this process every time your puppy goes out for about one week.

Step 2

You will now begin luring your puppy to ring the bell on her own. Start by showing your pup a treat, before going outside. Slowly bring the treat next to the set of bells, luring your dog to follow the treat to the bells. When your puppy’s nose or paw touches the bells, say “Let's Go Potty Outside” and take your pup outside to the “potty spot.” Wait for your puppy to finish, then repeat “Go Potty” and give her the treat. It is important to reward your pup for going to the bathroom outside. This is why the treat is only given after doing her business outside! This process may last a week, give or take a few days depending on the puppy.

Step 3

Now that your puppy is physically ringing the potty training bells, it is time to phase out the food lure. Just before taking your pup outside, gesture to the bells with your empty hand instead of using a treat to draw his nose over. When your puppy rings the bells, say “Go Potty” and take him to the “potty spot.” After your pup finishes, repeat “Go Potty” and reward him with a treat.

Always take your dog out a leash while working on potty training. This ensures that your pup will understand the potty training bells mean “Go Potty” and not “go out and play.”

If your puppy does not go potty, confine her inside (either on a leash or in her crate) for 5 to 10 minutes and then repeat the bell training process. Remember to have patience with your puppy and yourself. As long as you stay consistent and fair, you and your pup will get the hang of this in no time!

 

How Often Will My Puppy Need To Go Potty

In general, puppies need to go potty at least every 2 to 4 hours. Younger puppies need to go out more often because they haven’t learned bladder control yet.

To determine the appropriate potty schedule for your puppy, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends using a “month-plus-one” rule. Take your pup’s age, in months, and add one to it to determine the maximum number of hours your pup can wait to potty.

Using this formula, your 2-month old puppy will need to go potty at least every 3 hours once he has learned to control his bladder through proper dog potty training.

As with any rule, there are always exceptions and your puppy’s potty schedule is no different.

Your pup will also need to go potty within 30 minutes (or less) of eating, immediately after waking from a nap, after playtime or other physical activity.

Want a dog potty training schedule you can count on? One that just works? You’ll get that and so much more in the FREE New Puppy Starter Kit.

 

Have more bell training questions? Share them in the comments below.

Where will you be hanging your potty bells? Bonus points if you can share a pic of your potty bells and where you put them!

 

If you enjoyed this article, you may also be interested in:

Aww Poop! – Why Your Dog Eats Poop and How To Stop It

Quick Tips To Potty Train Your Puppy Fast

Michele Lennon

About the trainer 

Michele Lennon

After spending 20 years helping families with their dogs face to face as a professional dog trainer, Michele realized that so much of what she knows could be shared with families everywhere - in a way that actually works. People sometimes think their dog is just SUPER difficult because the advice they’ve gotten was incomplete, confusing or just wrong. So she set out to help. Michele loves training dogs because of the impact that it has on the families she gets to help.  The peace and joy they get from being able to enjoy their dog LISTENING. Besides teaching classes, helping private clients and running seminars, Michele is also a foodie and fantasizes about being a food critic or secret shopper for restaurants.  Talk to her about food and your instant best friends.

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  1. Just picked up my 12 week old cocker and she is peeing in the crate. It is a small crate large enough fir her to stretch out to sleep but not much more. Even after 3 hours and waking her up. She did that after a few minutes of being in the crate. I have never had a pup that is ok with peeing in her crate and won’t go outside. Any ideas?

    1. Congrats on your new puppy! I know how frustrating potty training a puppy can be. Most pups her age can only hold it 1 hour for each month of age, sometimes even less than that. I would check out my potty training lesson and grab the sample puppy schedule that goes along with it. This will help keep you and your pup on a consistent schedule as well as teach you the best techniques to potty train your pup super fast. Remember your puppy is growing and maturing at a very rapid rate during her first year of life. Her brain and body are still trying to sync up and this can lead to a few accidents. Here’s the link to the potty training lesson and resources: https://howtotrainadreamdog.com/potty-training

  2. My puppy is five months old and we trained her with a potty bell. She trained quickly and all was well… until she figured out ringing the bell gets her outside to run and play. She now rings the bells 15 times a day. I tried ignoring her when I was certain she had been out a few minutes prior and taken care of business; she then stopped using the bell and just peed in the house. So we started over with potty training, I am completely frustrated, I give her a few minutes if she doesn’t go, I bring her back in with no play time but she doesn’t give up she continues to ring the bell over and over. I am at my wits end and completely at a loss as to how to change her behavior.

    1. I pick the bells up for a while and put them back down about the time I need to take a pup out. When you go outside, make it boring, no playtime, just potty time.

  3. We have the bells and are planning to use them, but I realized they’re on a door that we use to go out throughout the day, which will ring them. How do we use the bells for potty on a frequently used door? Thanks!

    1. Hello,

      Inside the free New Puppy Starter Kit, there is a bell training lesson. The lesson contains several training tips and one of the tips is not to put the bells on the door but on a hook next to the door. We don’t want pup to hear the bells every time the door opens and closes as this will make the bells lose their meaning. Here’s the link to grab the video lesson and several other puppy training lessons from the New Puppy Starter Kit: https://howtotrainadreamdog.com/new-puppy-starter-kit/

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