Have you tried a dog potty training button yet? How about dog doorbells?
You might be surprised how easily your dog picks them up, and how happy it makes your pup to ring a doggie doorbell to go out!
Whether you're potty training a new dog or just want to raise the level of your dog's potty and communications skills, we’re here to help. Teaching your dog to ring potty training bells is simple and rewarding for both your dog and you.
Here at Mighty Paw, we love any opportunity to make communication between our dogs and us stronger. Who doesn't want to have more good, back-and-forth conversations with their best friend?!
That's one of the reasons we invented the Mighty Paw Smart Bell. It's also why we want to help you learn how to train your dog to use a potty training bell or wireless dog doorbell. In this article, we'll cover the benefits of using a dog potty training button with step-by-step instructions on training your dog to use one.
Why ringing a dog doorbell to choose to go outside is a joyful thing for your dog
Dogs are a lot like us -- we all thrive when we feel a sense of control in our lives, even in everyday things. That's psychology 101 for humans, but behaviorists confirm it's critical for our dogs too.
“The single most important thing I have learned over 40 years of studying learning and behavior is the benefit of giving control to our dogs over their own life events,” says renowned psychologist and behaviorist Dr. Susan Friedman. “Research shows that control over outcomes is a primary reinforcer.” This means that our instincts are correct: dogs need to feel control over their lives for their own health and wellbeing.
Professional positive dog trainers often talk about the benefits to our dogs' happiness and behavior when we give them opportunities for consent and agency over choices. For example, does your dog really want to be petted at this moment? Or meet that unfamiliar dog or dog parent rushing to "say hello" on the sidewalk?
That's why dog trainers recommend finding ways to build your two-way communication bond with your dog. Learning to nose a dog doorbell to say it's time to go out is a great place to start!
How do you help your dog learn to ring a dog bell to initiate a trip outside?
3 simple steps to teach your dog to ring a dog doorbell when potty training
This also applies to training your dog to use the Mighty Paw Smart Bell if you prefer that dog doorbell over tinkle or jingle bells.
First, what you'll need for this potty training exercise...
- Plenty of high-value, bite-sized treats your dog loves
- Your doggie doorbell of choice -- this could be traditional "tinkle” or jingle bells, or a wireless "smart doorbell" like the Mighty Paw Smart Bell
We make easy-to-use, durable options in both types of dog doorbells to fit what feels right to you:
- Mighty Paw Smart Bell 2.0 -- the Mighty Paw Smart Bell is a wireless dog doorbell with 4 different volume levels and 38 different ring tones. This wireless dog doorbell works for any size dog, with only light nose or paw pressure needed to ring it.
- Mighty Paw Tinkle Bells 2.0 -- Our traditional potty training bells come in 4 fabric options or leather for the hanging strip. All have durable reinforced bells that are strong enough for even the most playful puppies of any size to ring the bell.
Whether you choose tinkle/jingle bells or think a wireless doorbell is the best dog doorbell for you and your dog, the training process is essentially the same.
How to potty train your dog using dog doorbells or a smart bell step by step
1) Introduce your dog and the dog doorbell and reward for every ring.
- If your dog already knows "touch," you've got a head start. Simply hold the bell or button in your open hand, and invite your dog over to check it out. You can use "touch" if your dog knows it.
- As your dog shows interest and begins to sniff and nose around the dog doorbell, reward your dog with a treat. Every time your dog makes the bell ring, give another reward!
- Practice several times so your dog makes the connection that making the dog doorbell ring is a rewarding thing.
2) Move the dog doorbell to the door at your dog's nose level.
- Once your dog is familiar with the dog doorbell and gets that it's a rewarding thing, move the doorbells or button to the door you use to go outside with your dog. Whether you're using tinkle bells you hang from the door handle or affix the wireless "smart bell" on the wall next to the door, make sure the dog doorbell is at an easy-to-reach nose level for your dog.
- Practice here so your dog gets used to the idea of the dog doorbell at the "potty time" door and knows that ringing it makes treats happen in this location. You can start by having your hand behind the tinkle bells or close to the smart bell, then gradually move your hand away as you practice with your dog.
3) Connect ringing the dog doorbell to opening the door and going outside to go potty.
- Now you're ready to make ringing the bell the cause for opening the door and going outside to go potty. When your dog noses the bell (paws are fine too!) or pushes the wireless doorbell, immediately treat and praise, then open the door and go outside.
- Praise and treat again after successfully going potty.
Most dogs pick up bell training quite quickly since it's a clear, direct path from behavior to reward. You're also both in a relaxed, totally controlled, and open-to-learning space, which makes learning much easier than teaching leash manners with potential triggers all around.
When your dog owns ringing the doggie doorbell to go out and potty, you can phase out the treat after the ring since getting to go outside is a great reward in itself. Not to mention your pup's feeling of success in being the one to make it happen!
Pro tip 1: If ever your dog rings the bell when you're not nearby, stop whatever you're doing.
Immediately praise, treat, and open the door for your dog! The sound of the potty training bells or wireless dog doorbell should always signal the door is about to open.
Do it even if you're sure your pup doesn't need a potty break. If your dog rings the bell or pushes the doorbell button to let you know your pup feels a need to go out for a breath of fresh air or a sniff around the garden, that's a good sign! Your dog is communicating with you and you're listening and responding.
Pro tip 2: Anytime the door opens, make sure the dog doorbell rings first.
No matter who is leaving, make sure the smart bell or the dog doorbell rings, then the door opens. Consistently showing that ringing the bell and going outside are linked will make it stick in your dog’s memory.
Here's to the joy of better communication between you and your dog and mastering new potty training skills together!
At Mighty Paw, we believe there's nothing better than having a solid communicative bond with our dogs, built on love, listening and responding to each other. That's why we're always finding ways to interact with our dogs and keep them happy, stimulated, and using their "voices" to make good choices.
Whether it's dog doorbells, enriching "puzzle" bowls and lick mats, or comfortable, reliable harnesses, we're committed to providing high-quality products that are safe, durable, and practical for everything you want to do together.