The video below shows a great way how to train your dog to use potty bells. We’ll break down the steps in the following way.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Introduce the Potty Bells to Your Dog
In order to get your dog to start using potty bells, they need to know how to use them. Sit down with your dog in a room that has few distractions. You should have a few treats ready to reward them.
Hold the potty bells close to your dog and just let them hang there. Your dog may be immediately curious about the bells and sniff them. Any time they investigate the bells, you should give them a treat. If you’ve trained your dog with a clicker, then you’ll want to click it before giving your dog a treat.
Once your dog has associated sniffing the bells with a reward, it’s time to take it up a notch. The next part is to get them to ring the bells.
Step 2: Train Your Dog to Ring Bells
While your dog may be fine with sniffing the bells, they may not be actually touching them. You need to encourage your dog to actively touch the bells with their nose or mouth to ring them. In the same place, you should hold the bells close to your dog. Encourage them to push or mouth the bells to make them ring.
As soon as the bells ring, give your dog a treat.
You may need to move the bells from position to position to help your dog understand that they need to put in a little effort to ring the bells.
Some dogs may not get it immediately. In this instance, you should move the bells a little closer to the dog. You may even need to physically brush their head with the bells before giving them a reward.
This step should be repeated until your dog starts to actively ring the bells to receive a treat.
Step 3: Move the Bells Onto a Door
Before you move the bells onto the exterior door, you should first practice on an interior door. This step helps your dog understand that when they ring the bells, the door opens, and they’re able to go outside.
Begin this step by placing the bells on a doorknob. Then hold your dog back and toss a few treats outside of the door. Close the door and wait for them to ring the bells. You may want to start off sitting on the floor. This can help engage their memory about what they need to do with the bells.
Once they ring the bells, open the door and let them get the treat outside. Once they’re back inside of the room with you, hold them, toss more treats outside, and repeat the process.
Eventually, you’ll also want to perform this step standing up. This offers a new challenge for your dog. They’re trying to understand your body language and what you’re trying to tell them. Each time they ring the bells, praise them and open the door to let them receive the treats on the other side.
Step 3: Move Bells to Exterior Door
After your dog has successfully learned how to ring the bells on the doorknob and made a connection with the door opening, it’s time to train them to use the exterior door. This time you’ll be doing so without treats. The idea is to teach them that ringing the bells doesn’t mean they get to a treat. It just means that the door will open for them to go outside.
Hang the bells on the doorknob of the exterior door. Whenever your dog rings the bells, open the door and let them go outside. They may be a little confused as to why as they’re not receiving a treat. You can still praise them, but you shouldn’t give them anymore treats.
Another way to reinforce that ringing the bells means they need to go potty outside is to give them a treat after they perform their business. The treat should only be given to them if they used the bells to indicate to you that they need to use the bathroom outside.
Continue to train them with the bells on the exterior door until they’re comfortable with using the system to go outside.
It’s also important that any time they ring the bells, you let them outside. Not doing so will confuse them. They may no longer use the bells to tell you that they need to use the bathroom.
How Long Does It Take To Bell Train A Puppy?
The length of time it takes to potty train your dog with bells is dependent on the intelligence of your dog, your ability as a trainer, and the time you have available to train them. For some pet owners, you may be able to bell train your dog as quickly as a weekend.
Others may successfully train their dogs in two weeks.
Yet others may need several weeks before their dog starts to get into the habit of using potty bells.
By following the steps listed above and not rushing through them, you can reinforce to your dog how to use the bells properly in a short amount of time.
DIY or Buy a Potty Bell?
If you know how to make a bell, then you can certainly use your own DIY potty bells. They need to be easy enough for a dog to ring. The fabric or cord that they’re attached to also needs to be durable. Your dog will likely chew or pull on the bells a little bit during the process of using them. Your DIY potty bells need to be able to be last.
Those that aren’t sure about their DIY skills will be better off buying a potty bell. Any kind of bell should really do; however, you may find that some potty bells made specifically for dogs function better.