How To Potty Train Your Dog With Bells

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Hey Mighty Paw Fam, Barbara here to talk about how to potty train your dog with bells! This house training technique works for dogs of all ages and includes puppies, adult dogs and senior pups.

Our training goal in this lesson is to teach our pups that potty time happens outside, and to reliably let us know when they need to go out. In order to achieve this, we'll teach how to associate the sound of bells with asking to go outside.

First off, I'll offer some general guidance.

After that, I'll introduce the different potty bells we carry here at Mighty Paw.

Last but not least, you'll find my detailed step-by-step instructions of how to use the bells with your pup.

OK, are you ready? Let's jump right in!

How To Potty Train Your Dog With Bells

How to potty train your dog with bells

Before I go into any potty training detail, I'd like to emphasize the importance of patience, consistency, and repetition in dog training.

    All three are important when you're working on training your dog to do anything, including potty training with bells.

    First of all, please be patient and understand that some dogs learn faster than others. That's especially true for Border Collies, German Shepherds, Poodles and Golden Retrievers to name just a few of the smartest dog breeds out there.

    During your bell potty training, make sure that your dog is on a consistent schedule and gets to go outside regularly to do his business. How many times depends entirely on your dog, but in general I'd say a minimum of 4 times per day for healthy adult dogs (morning, noon, afternoon, evening).

    Puppies are going to have to go outside a lot more frequently because their bladders are still small and developing:

    • First thing in the morning
    • Last thing at night
    • After every nap
    • Shortly after mealtime
    • After playtime, and maybe even in-between

    Additionally, just like us humans, dogs are creatures of habit and require daily repetition to learn a new pattern. T

    hey have no idea what we expect of them, so it's our job to show them what we want them to do, and then practice the new behavior with them.

    3 Different Potty Bell Options: Choose Your Favorite One

    Next up, let's look at the different potty bells to find the one that'll work best for you and your pup(s).

    Here at Mighty Paw, we have 3 different options that all work equally great! It's just a matter of your personal preference as far as design and material are concerned.

    Smart Bell 2.0

    Obviously we're very biased when it comes to potty bells for dogs, but we can confidently say that our Mighty Paw Smart Bell 2.0 is one of the coolest and best dog bells for potty training purposes!

    We playfully call it the 21st century potty training approach, and the numbers speak for themselves - our Smart Bell has helped and continues to help thousands of dogs and owners.

    These are its features & benefits:

    • Consists of receiver and wireless transmitter
    • Receiver plugs directly into a 110V outlet
    • No batteries or charging required 
    • Transmitter features 3M adhesive for wall or door mounting
    • No screws or tools necessary
    • Receiver and transmitter communicate as far as 1000 ft from each other when inside
    • 38 different ringtones
    • 4 different volume settings
    • Water resistant transmitter
    • Can be used outside 
    • Available with 1 or 2 transmitters (2 are great if you have multiple doors)
    • Dogs can ring the bell with their nose or paws


    Hanging Tinkle Bells

    Our hanging tinkle bells are less high-tech, but oh so cute!

    They're perfect if you're looking to hang potty bells from your door handle AND pack easily to come along on trips.

    These are their features & benefits:

    • Loud & durable bells
    • Large thick-walled jingle bells
    • Constructed from strong blend of metals
    • Dimensions are 24" x 1"
    • Great for large and small dogs
    • Hanging loop part snaps open
    • Easily hangs on any door knobs, handles, or hooks
    • Available in 10 different colors and 2 materials (nylon & leather)
    • Dogs can ring the bell with their nose or paws

    All Metal Tinkle Bell

    If you're looking for a literal bell, we have you covered too with our metal tinkle bell.

    These are its features & benefits:

    • Brass bell
    • Bold, rich sound
    • Iron support for strength
    • Installs at the perfect height for your dog
    • 2 screws and wall anchors are included
    • Dogs can ring the bell with their nose or paws

      Mighty Paw | All metal potty tinkle bell

      Detailed Step-by-Step Instructions

      Step 1: Introduce Your Dog To The Bells

      Before you even install or hang any of the potty bells, show them to your dog. Dogs are curious by nature, so this is going to work in your favor.

      However, know that dogs who haven't been properly socialized to sounds may be a bit skittish at first. For those guys, try not to rattle (or ring) the (smart) bells too much at first. 

      The best way to show them to your dog is to just lay them down on the floor. If you can, sit down next to them with some tasty treats and call your pup over. If you're having trouble sitting down on the floor, an alternative could be your couch. 

      When your pup comes over, hold your treat hand next to the bells. The moment he gets close to the bells/your hand, reward him with a treat. You can also add verbal praise like "Good boy/girl!". Repeat a few times. 

      Next, touch the bells a little so they make some noise. If your dog is skittish and you're introducing him to the Smart Bell 2.0, I recommend to choose the lowest volume during this introduction. Once your dog investigates and touches the bells with his nose or paws, reward with a treat and praise. Repeat a few times.

      Mighty Paw | Introducing Wally to the Mighty Paw Tinkle Bells

      Step 2: Install The Bells

      Once your pup has experienced the bells for a little while, it's time to install or hang them.

      For the Smart Bell 2.0, all you have to do is plug the receiver into an outlet inside your home, and use the 3M adhesive to stick the transmitter(s) to your door frame or wall next to the door. 

      As the name suggests, the hanging potty bells simply hang from a door knob, handle, or hook. You can snap the loop open to easily hang them from anywhere, really. 

      The all metal tinkle bells simply screw into the wall next to a door. You can use the screws and anchors that come with the bell.

      Step 3: Teach Your Dog To Ring The Bells

      All 3 potty bells are designed in a way that allow your dog to "ring" them using either their nose or their paws.

      Since some dogs prefer using their nose and others prefer using their paws, just use whichever way seems to come more naturally to your particular dog. 

      Also, if your dog already knows the "shake" command, you can definitely use that in your favor. Simply get him to "shake hands with the bell" rather than your hand.

      You can use treats

      Here are a few tricks to get your food-motivated pup to connect with the bells if he doesn't know the "shake" command:

      • Smear a little peanut butter on the bells
      • Hold a treat in your hand right over, under, or next to the bells so that your pup touches the bell when he goes for the treat - this depends on where and how you've installed it

      When your pup licks the peanut butter off or goes to eat the treat, he'll make the bells ring. 

      Mighty Paw | Potty Training With The Mighty Paw Tinkle Bells

      As soon as the bells DO ring, mark that sound with a verbal "YES" and offer another treat.

      If your pup doesn't seem food-motivated, try some really smelly treats like green tripe treats or anything fishy. Those can do wonders, trust me!



      You can use a favorite toy 

      If your pup is more motivated by a favorite squeaky toy or ball, you can certainly use those instead of treats.

      Just hold them under, above, or next to the potty bell so that your dog touches it when he's going for his favorite squeaky or ball.

      As soon as the bells DO ring, mark that sound with a verbal "YES" and give your pup the toy or ball as a reward. 

      Step 4: Associate Outdoor Time With The Bells

      Now that your pup knows how to ring the potty bell(s), the last step consists of associating outdoor time with them. 

      To do this, open the door for your pup as soon as he rings the bells. 

      When you're first teaching this new routine, it may be helpful if you're keeping your pup on a long leash whenever you're practicing. That way, you'll easily be able to reel her back inside to practice again.

      Otherwise, you may have to wait for your pup to come back inside on her own if her recall isn't great and you're letting her out into a larger fenced-in backyard ;-) 

      What To Do When Your Dog Rings The Bells Just To Get To Go Outside

      Some dogs have a tendency of "misusing" the potty bells once they figure out that you open the door to the grand outdoors when they ring them!

      The strategy here is to simply ignore your pup when he rings the bell without actually having to go potty.

      Of course you need to know your dog in order for this to work, and it'll also be helpful to keep him on a regular potty AND feeding schedule. That way you can anticipate when he needs to do his business.

      Dogs who are free-fed have much less consistent potty needs than those who eat at set times of the day.

      Are you ready to start house training your pup with the Mighty Paw potty bells? You can check them out in our dog training section here

      Did you know? We’re offering free U.S. shipping on ALL orders!

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      Barbara Rivers writes regularly for Mighty Paw. She is a blogger, raw feeder, former dog walker and maintains the blog K9s Over Coffee.

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      How To Teach Your Dog To Come When Called Reliably

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