Imagine a world where your puppy always tells you when they have to go outside and they never have an accident.
Now read on to find out how to make this your reality!
Your puppy doesn't know you need them to potty outside until you teach them this skill. In order to teach our puppies where they should be going, we first have to establish some clear guidelines and communication. Most puppies give signals, like sniffing the ground and circling, before they go to the bathroom. These signals can be helpful but require you to constantly have eyes on your puppy.
As your little one matures and earns more freedom, it will be helpful to have an audible and reliable signal from your pup that they need to go outside! This is why I recommend teaching your puppy to ring a set of bells when they have to go potty. Training this behavior can be broken down into three, easy to follow steps.
Buy or make a set of bells that you will be able to easily hear when your dog rings them. Hang the bells at your dog’s level on the wall next to the main “potty door.” Before going outside, ring the bells yourself and say “Go Potty.” Take your puppy out on a leash to the same location every time. When your puppy does their business, repeat “Go Potty” and give them a treat. Repeat this process every time your puppy goes out for about one week.
You will now begin luring your puppy to ring the bell themselves. Before taking your puppy out, show them a treat and slowly bring it next to the set of bells. When your puppy’s nose or paw touches the bells, say “Let's Go Potty Outside” and take them outside to their potty spot. Wait for your puppy to go and then repeat “Go Potty” and give them the treat. It is important to be rewarding your puppy for going to the bathroom outside. This is why the treat is only given after they have done their business! This process may last a week, give or take a few days depending on the puppy.
Now that your puppy is physically ringing the bells, it is time to phase out the food lure. Just before taking your puppy outside, gesture to the bells with your empty hand instead of using a treat to draw their nose over. When your puppy rings the bells, say “Go Potty” and take them to their spot. After your puppy goes, repeat “Go Potty” and reward them with a treat.
Taking your puppy out on leash while working on potty training. This ensures that they will understand the bells mean “Go Potty” and not “go out and play.” If you take your puppy out on a leash and they do not go, confine them inside either on a leash or in their crate for 5 to 10 minutes and then repeat the bell training process. Remember to have patience with your puppy and yourself. As long as you stay consistent and fair, you and your puppy will get the hang of this in no time!
If you have any questions on bell training your puppy, go ahead and put the questions in the comments below. For more tips on potty training check out the post on quick tips to potty train your puppy fast or watch the free potty training lesson. Join our DIY Dog Training community on Facebook.