Tired of dog poos and pees inside? Is your puppy not potty trained yet? It is possible for you to train your beloved puppy to ring a bell to let you know that it wants to do its business outside. This is quicker to accomplish if you have any of the more intelligent breeds of dogs, such as Rottweillers, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Poodles, Border Collies, etc. Other breeds may take a little longer to make the connection between the bells ringing and the door opening for them so they can go potty outside, but this method is easy enough for even the most novice owners to master and train their pups! All you need is patience, consistency and repetition.
If you’re frustrated that your dog needs to go potty and just doesn’t seem to be able to give you any indication that she needs to GO POTTY, then you can use this four step process to teach them! Despite your best efforts, some dogs will literally just stare right at you and then proceed to pee on the spot. Where’s the whimper, you ask? The pawing at the door to be let out? Why is there yet another puddle of pee on the floor?! Why won’t they just let you know they need to go out?
Dogs naturally do not defecate where they sleep. If your new puppy is crated in the beginning, your best bet it to immediately put them outside when you open their crate door. But this doesn’t really help you when you let them roam free the rest of the day. If they aren’t the type to whimper before they pee or poop, then you have to teach them that they have a way to get your attention. What way? By pawing at bells. So, no matter where you are in the house, if you hear those bells, you’ll know exactly what it is they need.
Follow these steps and see if your pup gets an A+ on his next potty training report card.
Buy the following items or have them handy:
- Bells you can hang on a door. We recommend the Poochiebells Potty Time Doorbell, they’re available on Amazon for about $18.99. You can find similar types of dog training bells that may cost less.
- High Value dog treats (something your pup absolutely loves to eat and that isn’t given to them very often). Small bits of beef or ham or cheese should work well. If you don’t give them any human food, then find some dog treats from the pet store that they love but don’t get that often. This helps your puppy focus more attention to you and try harder to get it as a reward.
Training the “Give Paw” response
If you haven’t already done so, your first step is to teach your pup to “Give Paw”. Hold your hand towards your puppy with your palm facing upwards, and say the words “Give Paw”. If they don’t understand what you want, move your hand towards them some more till the side of your hand touches their chest and gently nudge them this way, while repeating “Give Paw”. Most dogs generally will place their paw into your hand automatically. The moment they do, reward them with a treat and a “Good dog!” in a high pitched and excited voice. If they still seem confused, physically place their paw into your open palm, using your other hand. Immediately praise and reward them, saying “Good dog, give paw!” And repeat it several times until they place their paw onto your palm on command by themselves. Your dog should master this either within five minutes or within a day or more, depending on its breed type/intelligence.
Training the “Paw the Bell” command
This one is a little trickier, but you’ve done most of the work already with the above command. Hang the bells on the door knob of the door that your pup will be let out of to do their business in the yard outside. Take the bottom bells in your hand and hold them, with your palm facing upwards, similar to when you were teaching your pup the command in Step 1.
Now, call your pup to come to you. This tutorial assumes your pup already knows the word “Come”, or else that she will come running to you when you call them out of pure puppy love.
Now that your pup has come to you, move your palm towards him, with the bells still in hand, and tell them “Paw Bell”. The moment they swipe at your paw AND they therefore make the bells jingle, (it is very important that both these are done before you praise them), reward your dog with treats and a “Good dog!”. They should be able to learn the “Paw Bell” command this way within a half hour (or more, depending on the breed).
The next most important action is to immediately open the door and let your pup out. When you take them out say “Go Pee”, and wait for them to do their business. If they’re little pups, generally they’ll pee right away outside and your training is half done. If they don’t pee, you may want to hang around outside till they do. If they don’t pee or poo after more than 20 minutes, go back inside, and watch them closely until you see that special “I have to go potty” waddle that most dogs make right before they do their business. Always make them ring the bell before you put them out. Repeat this until your pup eventually understands and connects the fact that when they make the bells jingle, they will be let out. This shouldn’t take too long, and once again can take anywhere between a day or several days, depending on your dog’s intelligence level. They will start to hit the bells on their own when they want to go out – sometimes improvising and using their noses instead!
Repetition and Consistency is Key!
For continued success, the most important action is that you consistently let your pup out when they paw at the bell. Let us warn you, though – the smarter your pup is, the faster he or she will also learn that they can slam those bells and be let out for ANY reason they want. Even if it is just to play. You’ll have to put up with this for a week or two or three, until you’re sure that they understand that they will be let out when they hit the bells. It isn’t unusual for a pup to hit the bells thirty times in a day only to let out a small tiny bit of pee before they start frolicking outside. You’ll have to make sure you let them out each time, even if you know they’re just asking to go play outside. When they’re a few months older and have mastered the concept of ringing the bells to be let out, then you can ease up on actually letting them out. To prevent confusion, when you hear the dog bells ring and you don’t think its necessary to open the door, look at them and firmly say “No. Stay inside.” so that you acknowledge that you heard the bell ring and that you are simply refusing to open the door. If you don’t do this, or something similar, your dog may eventually give up on ringing the bell at all because it may assume that you don’t respond to them anymore.
Check out this video tutorial using Poochiebells dog bells and teach your dog to ring bells when they need to go potty:
It's simple and just requires patience, consistency and lots of doggy treats!