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Tips for Using the Bell Potty Training Method with your Puppy

August 15, 2019

One of the hardest jobs for new puppy parents is potty training. If you are like most new puppy parents, then you probably have combed the internet looking for help. You may have found the bell method and wondered if your puppy is a good candidate. The answer is yes! Your dog can learn to alert you with a bell each time they need to use the bathroom.

This is an excellent method for apartment or condo dwellers. But the technique is also really good for someone with a larger home. All you will need is a simple bell that can be placed on the floor or hung from a door with a string.

We’ve compiled some simple tips but keep in mind it’s all about repetition and responsiveness. Once your puppy associates the bell with being let out, they will ring it each time they need a bathroom break.

Tip 1: 

Start showing your puppy how to ring the bell by taking his paw in your hand and ringing the bell. Use a simple command such as, “Out” with each ring of the bell and reward your dog with a treat. It may take a few days or weeks, but your dog will soon begin to ring the bell with his paw without your help. Be sure to reward with a treat each time.

Tip 2:

Once your pup has got a hang of ringing the bell, move the bell over towards the door you want your dog to go out. Do the same program, but as your dog rings the bell, use your command word, open the door, go outside and reward as you start walking through the door to encourage your dog to follow you. You can do this several times a day, and since you will be outside most of the time your dog will naturally want to relieve himself. Give a reward each time your dog uses the bathroom.

Tip 3:

Soon your dog will expect the door to be opened after ringing the bell, so feel free to add the leash into this routine. Be consistent. Your dog will pick up on the association that ringing the bell equals potty, so follow the same pattern each time. The bell rings. The door opens. They go potty. They get rewarded.

It’s not uncommon for your dog to start ringing the bell more than it should because he just wants to go out or be rewarded. You can prevent abuse of the bell by only rewarding when your dog goes to the potty.  If your dog doesn’t potty, bring him back inside. It’s important that he knows the bell is for potty, not for play.

Your friends and family will be in awe of the fact that your dog rings a bell to let you know they need to go out.