3 Steps to Train A Puppy to Ring Potty Bells and Make Potty Training Fun
What's so great about dog bell training?
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 as an essential tool for in-home puppy training. You'll also want to learn about crate training a puppy and how to prevent excited puppy pee to help with potty training and so much more.
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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
The courtesy desk dog 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 Dog Bells With Adjustable Strap
Hanging dog 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 Potty 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 Dog Bell I Recommend For Potty Bell 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 Dog Doorbells
Hang the adjustable potty bells next to or near the door you want your puppy to learn to use for bathroom breaks.
Adjust the strap so the bottom bells are above the floor and easy for your pup to reach.
Teach your pup how to ring the potty bells when she needs to go outside to potty.
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 potty bells will ring every time the door is opened, and your puppy won’t associate the potty bells with potty time.
Courtesy Desk Dog Doorbells
Place the dog doorbell on the floor near the door you want your puppy to learn to use when he needs to go outside. Ensure the potty bell is placed, so it doesn’t interfere with the way your door swings to open. You don't want the potty bell to accidentally ring when the door is opened.
Teach your pup how to ring the dog doorbell 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!
Buy a set of potty training bells that you will be able to easily hear when your dog rings them. Hang the potty training bells at your dog’s level on the wall next to the main “potty door.”
Before going outside, ring the potty 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.
You will now begin luring your puppy to ring the potty bell on her own.
Start by showing your pup a treat before going outside. Slowly bring the treat next to the set of potty training bells, luring your dog to follow the treat to the bells. When your puppy’s nose or paw touches the potty 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.
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 potty bells with your empty hand instead of using a treat to draw his nose over.
When your puppy rings the potty training 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 on 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 must 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.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends using a “month-plus-one” rule to determine the appropriate potty schedule for your puppy. 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 potty 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!
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About the trainer
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.