How to Potty Train a Puppy to Ring a Bell

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Once housebroken, dogs use a number of tactics to alert owners that they are in need of going outside. They may bark, whine or scratch at the door. Some may be reluctant to express the need or an owner misinterprets a cue, which leads to accidents on the floor. Training a dog to ring a bell when desiring to potty provides a direct cause and effect means of communication. The beauty of the technique means that the trick can be taught whether first house training a pup or if desiring to enhance communication with older dogs.

Choosing A Bell

When shopping for a potty bell, take a few factors into consideration. A tiny bell may not be loud enough to be heard from another room. On the other hand, a very large bell might be too difficult for a small dog to ring. The loud noise of say a cowbell might also scare a pet. Find a bell that is size appropriate for the puppy, and one that makes sufficient noise. An owner might also consider stringing a few small bells together. Craft and fabric stores are great places to locate one or more bells. They are also generally in abundant supply around the Christmas season.

Bell Placement

The bell or bells should typically be placed within close proximity of the door while the pup is still learning. They might conveniently hang from the door knob or latch. The ribbon, string or other material used to hang the bell must also be long enough so that the pup can reach the bell with its nose, body or a paw.

Training Begins

When taking the pup out to take care of business, verbalize “let's go potty” or let's go pee pee.” Before opening the door, gently use the puppy's paw, nose or body to ring the bell so they learn that they must accomplish the task. Every time the pup rings the bell, take him or her outdoors. Offer praise and a reward after toileting. Once the dog equates the bell with needing to potty and capably accomplishes ringing the bell on their own, owners may gradually move the device further away from the door. In some households, owners use bells on different floors of a multi-storied home so that the sound is audible and the dog can get their attention. Being portable, the bells are additionally easily taken along when traveling with four-legged companions.

The intelligence of dogs is well verified. Though pups learn at different rates depending on breed and individual personality, many young canine companions pick up the trick in a few short weeks. Owners often also report that the communication method also decreases the number of accidents in the home.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "How to Potty Train a Puppy to Ring a Bell," in, January 26, 2016, (accessed August 16, 2022).