A bell is an amazing way for your dog to let you know that he wants to go outside. A lot of dogs will start to associate the door with needing to go potty, but this sometimes isn’t enough. The first problem is if the door is also used for going outside or going on walks. Your dog may start to trick you into thinking he has to go potty, when really he just wants to play. The other problem is maybe you aren’t in the room or are sleeping. The bell is an audible signal that the dog can give to get your attention.
Be sure to hang the bell on whichever door you are going to use for potty the most. Choose one door in particular if possible. Always take him out on a leash when going potty so he doesn’t associate the bell with playtime.
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• Put something tasty on the bell to encourage your puppy to lick it. Hold the bell near the puppy’s nose, let him lick it for a moment, then say “yes” and give him a treat.
• Once he loves licking the bell, hang it on the door and encourage him to touch it. Say “yes” whenever he touches it enough to make a noise.
• When he is returning to the bell to be rewarded, let him touch the bell, take him right outside the door with his leash on, say “yes” and give him a treat.
• When he touches the bell take him outside, to his potty spot, say “yes” and treat
• He touches the bell, take him to his potty spot, tell him “potty” or your command, then wait for him to go. When he’s about finished say “yes” then give him lots and lots of praise and reward. You want to say “yes” while the behavior is happening, but not too soon that your puppy stops elimination in order to get his treat. With a bit of practice you’ll learn to time your “yes” and treat so that your puppy associates his reward with eliminating in the right place, yet isn’t interrupted before completion. You can also use your potty command whenever your dog goes potty on his own, whether you are at this point in the training process or not.
• Once he has moved on to the next step, he should not be rewarded for previous steps.
• In addition to him touching the bell on his own, have him touch the bell whenever you are taking him outside at his scheduled time.
Combining these steps with my structured potty training and crate training, your dog will be telling you when they need to go potty in no time!