Teaching Your Dog or Puppy to Ring a Bell for More Successful Potty Training

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dog bell training, dog bell, potty training a puppy with a bell

Ringing a Bell can Really Help with Potty Training

Potty training is one of the number one questions that I get as it relates to dogs.

And I often recommend teaching your dog or puppy to ring a bell to alert you to when it is time that he wants to go outside.  So in this article, I want to bell ringing down in a simple form on its own.

What You Will Need:

  • A string of bells (that you can find at your local pet supply store, craft store, or even your local Wal-Mart)
  • A Clicker
  • Great Treats
  • Your Dog

Before You Start Training:

First you must get your dog or puppy use to the sound of the bell.

For a few days or weeks I help my dogs adjust to the sound of the bell by attaching it to the doorknob of the door we go out.

This helps alleviate any fears associated with the noise of the bell, but it will not teach your dog to ring it!

Some people think by simply attaching the bell to the door and the fact that your puppy or dog hears the sound means he knows what to do with the bell; but he doesn’t!

You Must Teach Him How to Ring the Bell then WHY!dog bell training, dog bell, potty training a puppy with a bell

At first I teach my dogs to ring the bell for a treat and don’t associate it with going outside.

Your dog has to be motivated to ring the bell, and in the beginning going outside doesn’t seem motivating enough to him!

But, if you teach him to ring the bell for a treat, he will easily and quickly learn to ring the bell.

I want my dogs to ring the bell with their nose, so I hang the bell close to their face.

It is instinct for dogs to want to investigate things you put near their face/muzzle, so he is likely to touch the bells lightly with his nose.  Be ready for that moment and click and treat.

If he is apprehensive, put the treat very near the ribbon of bells so that he almost HAS to touch them in order to get at his treat.  When he touches, click and treat!

Once he seemingly has this idea down, move the string of bells to the left or the right of your dog and see if he moves to go and hit them with his nose; if he does click and treat!

dog bell training, dog bell, potty training a puppy with a bellIf he doesn’t follow the bells, don’t move them as far but he does ring them move them to the other side.

Next try moving the bells above his head and then closer to the floor.  If he is chasing them with his nose in an attempt to ring them, then he understands what you want!

Once he understands what you want, you can begin giving it a command.

And, after several days or even a week or two you can then change its meaning.

Now have your puppy or dog ring the bell praise him and put him outside.

If you are still potty training go outside with him.

He will at first be confused and will probably go through several days of persistent bell ringing.  Patiently go outside with him and quietly praise him for bell ringing.

Soon he will realize that bell ringing = going outside.

If you have to keep him on a leash or you are keeping him in a smaller room you can attach the bell to something close to him or the doorbell of the room you are in so that you can still make his environment small while encouraging bell ringing prior to going outside.

He needs to be pretty succinct and adept at not having accidents on the floor in order to give him the privilege of being off leash or available to ring the bell.  At first it is more about getting him outside every few hours.

If you are having constant accidents in the house and he can’t hold his bladder…he will be unable to successfully ring the bell prior to going outside.

Make sure that you conquer one thing successfully at a time.  Once he gains some control you can add bell ringing and he will have a better understanding of what it means!

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There are 61 Comments

  1. Jim Bishop says:

    Works very well , my little Yorkie uses a large brass bell, when he rings it, it will get your attention…The way I look at it, it may be over kill for a bell, but then too it may be a lifesaver one of these days too .

    [Reply]

    Ginger Shavel Reply:

    I have a Morkie (Yorkie & Maltese)6 month old puppy Lexie. Two things I can’t figure out, please help me. I boought the whole training program and Lexie is so stubborn she is still only partially trained. First of all she jumps 2 feet in the air when I click and is afraid f taking the treat for a few minutes. Second the bell also scares her so its hard for me to use this as a training tool. She goes to door but does not bark so if you don’t see her she squats by door or close by. She still won’t come when called unless you call her good girl in a high voice 5-6 times then comes but refuses to sit. HELP!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

  2. Deb Claus says:

    I taught my pup to ring a bell to go outside. it was the easiest thing to do and he caught on fast, now he rings is whenever its time to go out, such a great thing!

    [Reply]

    Jay Reply:

    I’ve taught my dog to ring the bell to go out, which he does. But now that he knows it’s his ticket to go out, he does it all the time. I no longer know when he really needs to go out or he just wants to go out.

    How do I break him of the bad habit and keep the good one.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    If he is new to potty training you let him out as often as he wants so you don’t make the mistake of ruining his potty training. Then I leave them out a little longer than they’d like, so I’m not running back and forth. It teaches them to think a little before they ask to go out

    [Reply]

    Jay Reply:

    Do you mean let him do his business and then just leave him outside longer then he wants?

    If I leave him out, all he does is tears up the yard.

    I’ve got to figure out a way to tell him no bell unless its business time.

    I’ve been crating him each time he rings the bell and doesn’t go, but that isn’t helping. All it’s been doing is making him not like his crate. Because at night, he never refused to go in on command. Now that I’ve been putting him in during the day time, he wont go in without a fight at night.

    Minette Reply:

    if he is tearing things up he needs more exercise, a lot more exercise.

  3. Mitzi K says:

    We have a 9 month old Goldendoodle and he uses the bell when he wants to go out. He had one accident in the house and that was the second day he was home. What a wonderful thing! I never hesitate to tell other pet owners about it.

    [Reply]

  4. rawand says:

    thanks for you very useful comands of the dogs learn to ring the bells really its amazing

    [Reply]

  5. Niki G says:

    We have a 7 month old Dobie. She doesn’t have any trouble with potty training or going outside but it’s when she wants to come back inside. Instead of giving us a warning bark and sitting nicely by the door. You hear a loud crash…her running up to the door and pummeling it, then standing there until we let her in. We will NOT open the door unless she sits and we tried to correct her bad behavior but she occasionally still tries to break the door down. Any suggestions? Our very beaten , muddy, scratched front door appreciates your help 🙂

    thank you!!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You can teach her to hit the doorbell, just like you teach her to ring a bell, you might just have to get one and put it outside withing reach for her!

    [Reply]

  6. Linda says:

    I am not having any success as I live in an apartment and my dog just turned 11 weeks and I hung bells on the balcony sliding door low enough for her to touch it as she can’t even get onto the balcony by herself because of the high step. I have to take her in my arms & she is doing everything indoors unless I cath & carry her to the balcony & then she barks to be let in even though I am out there with her, she will pull on my pants even though I turn my back to ignore her behavior

    I am very discouraged I have since she was 8 weeks.

    What am I doing wrong?

    [Reply]

  7. jackie says:

    I have a chi/wirehair mix rescue approx. 2 yrs.old. He won’t ring a bell or bark to go out. He just follows me around & if I am busy & not watching him, he will pee in the house.

    How can I get him to give SOME kind of signal? We have had him for 9 mo.

    [Reply]

  8. Susan King says:

    The bell idea is not working properly for me. He loves to play with the bell but does not seem to connect it with going outside. He’s mostly good, hasn’t peed in the house for about 3 weeks, but will poop if he’s in and needs to go. No signs, (except if I notice that he disappeared from my sight), so I can only watch him at all times. He knows it’s wrong because when he manages to vanish, he’ll go to the end of the hall or right in front of one of the 3 doors (2 to outside, 1 to garage). We started out by opening the door everytime he rang the bell, but then it became ridiculous because to him it’s a toy. How do I get him to quit treating it as a toy and understand that it’s to communicate his bodily needs?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    put him outside EVERY time he rings it even if he is treating it like a toy and he will get the idea and it will be less fun to ring that way, but you have to be consistent.

    [Reply]

  9. Susan King says:

    I’ve tried that too. Open the door right away and he looks out the door. Goes out if he wants or goes back to playing with bell. Maybe we’re making progress even if he just associates the bell being rung with the door opening. Problem is, I’m not sure he 100% “gets” that he shouldn’t poop in the house. When I find it, I make sure he knows what I’m picking up in tissue, or bring it close enough for him to smell. I talk in a louder voice and very sternly and take him outside with me where he watches me put it in the poop container. I keep saying “Poo poo potty goes outside”. He knows potty because withing a few days of getting him he would “go potty” on command. He also knows “outside”. Obviously pee and poop are different things and he hasn’t peed in the house for several weeks. That’s why I’m trying to differentiate here. Lately I’m doing something rather odd, since I’m clueless. When I’m in the yard and find poop, I get all excited and he goes with me to get treats and then I go get the poop container and scoop. I call him over and praise him for “poo poo potty outside. Good boy.” And hold scoop of poop up for him and dump it in container while he eats treat from other hand. No poop inside lately, but it might just be because he hasn’t gotten the urge while in the house. Don’t know if you’ve ever heard of someone giving a treat while they pick up poop outside. But if I’m obviously disappointed to find it in the house, I’m hoping he gets it. Of course,I always call him for a treat if I actually catch him pooping outside. He’s interesting, for sure.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I am guessing he thinks you are crazy.

    You can’t reprimand a dog for something that has previously happened when you find it.

    In order to make an impact you must catch him pooping, then you can say no and get him outside.

    By making a big deal about it, I bet he is becoming more and more confused especially since you “like” finding it outside.

    Instead, watch him inside the house and don’t allow him to have access if he is going to poop…you can’t change a behavior AFTER it has happened.

    And go outside with him on a regular basis and quietly praise him for going potty outside.

    That is all you need to do!

    [Reply]

  10. Roxy Moore says:

    Hi there, I have an 8 week old puppy. We’ve had her only two days she is now going outside, the problem is that when she poops, she does it walking so there is a trail of poo over an area of 1 meter or more! I have allocated one corner of the garden for her to relief herself but they way she does it means more of the garden is getting dirty and today I found there are a lot of flies around!
    How can I get her to poop in one place alone and walk along when she does it. She is a Whippet, perhaps this is linked to her breed?
    I am considering getting a litter tray and fill it with sand or soft gravel so I can remove all the poop and not leave any scent for the flies. I am not even sure they do such a thing for dogs.
    Any advice gratefully appreciated, regards

    [Reply]

  11. Bob says:

    Hello.

    We have your training program and have learned so much from it.

    All of our doors to outside are on the bottom floor of our 2 level home.

    We work from home and Teddy (just turned 6 months) is always close by. He has free run of the house but he likes to stay close to us and pee accidents have been rare. They have happened only when we let our guard down. He has never done an accidental no.2 indoors.

    But I don’t want to be on pee alert all the time. It’s really tiring being focused so diligently on him all the time. I need to be able to relax and completely safeguard against a pee accident.

    I take Teddy out every 2-3 hours for a pee break during the day and he’ll go every time. Sometimes it’s just a tinkle and at others its longer. I know the tinkle is just because his bladder isn’t full and I’ve taken him out too soon. But he seems to know that outside is where to pee.

    He doesn’t give any signal that he needs to go outside for a pee. Believe me we are diligent in watching for one. Almost obsessive about it.

    He’s regular and dependable for his no2. He very rarely will do one when I take him out when he awakens between 6:30 and 7:00. But he will pee. But I know he will do no.2 (and always does) when I take him for a walk 3-4 hours later. That walk is anywhere from 1-1 1/2 miles. His next no.2 will be on his next walk which is usually 6-7 hours later and that’s it until the next day.

    He’s a small breed so has less exercise requirement but he gets 1-1 1/2 hours a day.

    In the meantime I have taken him outside several times (between his walks)for a successful pee.

    I’m thinking of putting a bell in a couple of different areas and teaching Teddy to ring each one before I take him out for a pee. Then hopefully he’ll learn that no matter where he is in the house he has a bell to ring to tell me he needs to go out. Not all of the bells just the one closest to him.

    Or do you think that teaching him to ring several bells will confuse him and he’ll think that’s what he needs to do…ring each one of them and in running around to ring each one of them he’ll have an accident?

    He’s a pretty smart little puppy and I love having him close by all the time but I need to focus and concentrate on other matters and be confident with his need to pee.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I try and make dog training as simple as possible.

    If I had a HUGE house, I might consider a bell or two.

    But if I had a normal sized house I would expect one bell would be fine. If you are worried you won’t hear it, they make bells that are loud like doorbells.

    [Reply]

    Bob Reply:

    Hi and thanks for the quick reply.

    Our home is rather large but I think I’ll start with your advice with just one loud bell.

    I agree with you saying make it simple 🙂

    Any suggestion where to place it? I’m thinking close to our offices where there’s somebody most of the time and where Teddy spends most of his time.

    Apologies for the long email I sent earlier. Just wanted you to have the whole picture.

    Best regards
    Bob

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I like the whole picture, most of the time I don’t get enough information!!

    I would actually put it by a door so there is association at least while he learns then you can move it and even bring it with you when you travel! You just have to make the associate very clear!!

  12. Bob says:

    OK

    That’s a great thought. I’ll do that then.

    Thanks again for the advice…and the great training program.

    BOb

    [Reply]

  13. carla says:

    My 5 month old shih tzu has learned how to ring the bell to go outside to potty but the problem now is he rings the bell even if he just wants to go outside to just sniff around and play. How can I help him distinguish?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    For a while just let him out anytime he rings it, once he understands totally then you can start ignoring it. But if you ignore it at the wrong time you are liable to end up with an accident 😉

    [Reply]

  14. TJ says:

    PLEASE HELP! We have had our Golden Retriever puppy for about a week and a half. He is 12 weeks old. I hung a bell by the patio door, and after only one day and one evening, he learned to ring it to go out. How smart! I thought. The problem is, he seems to associate ringing the bell with one or both of these things: Getting my immediate attention, and/or going outside to play – NOT GOING POTTY. Yes, I reinforce like mad: he is on a leash in only a a quarter of the yard, I am repeating the word “potty”, me helping his paw to ring the bell when it is a scheduled potty trip, saying “good potty!” when he goes, and rewarding with a treat. Half of the time, he is also rewarded with free run play in the backyard when he has gone potty. He is still having one or two accidents a day. Those times, he either rings the bell and immediately pees on the rug, or does not ring the bell at all, and does not give me the satisfaction of even the slightest “circle turning and nose sniffing” to pick up on it.

    But he has me running outside every time he rings the bell – about 10 times per 24 hrs – and he only “goes” about 75% of the time maybe. I am also starting to notice him playing with the bell when he is rowdy, but of course I have to follow the cue and take him out anyways, even if I suspect he only wants my attention or to go outside and play. The thing is, I THINK he suspects a connection between going potty and the bell, and yet ALSO understands he can manipulate me to get me to run over to him or take him out to the fresh air!

    I am desperate for suggestions!!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    What is wrong with taking him out? It is clear to me that he needs to go outside and PLAY, PLAY, PLAY A LOT!!!! Puppies need exercise.

    You should exercise and play with him until he goes potty and then until he is exhausted then when you bring him in he will nap and when he gets up it needs to happen all over again.

    And, stop giving him full access to the house, he hasn’t earned it yet!

    [Reply]

    TJ Reply:

    The dog is restricted by babygates to just the kitchen and the small casual living room adjacent to it.
    I am at home with him except for one hour at the most per day. My hubby takes him into the yard to play for 15 mins at 5am, then I take him there to play at least 3 or 4 times until 5pm. Then he gets another playtime with my hubby and daughter in the evening. And, i play with him all day long in the house, too, throwing toys, training, etc. I thought this is probably more than a lot of puppies get, but perhaps I am wrong.

    He is not leash-trained yet, nor has he had 3 sets of shots yet, so he is not being taken on walks. Planning on doing both.

    It is just annoying to run out every 10 minutes all day long, when I know he does not need to go. I wish there was some way he would ring the bell only when he needs to eliminate!

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You need a crate for when you can’t watch him. The kitchen and living room are WAY too much space to give a puppy unless you are with him or he is on a leash.

    15 minutes of exercise is nothing to a puppy!! Puppies are athletes they need way more than that, several hours a day to keep their bodies and minds stimulated. They also need mental stimulation read this http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/dont-time-exercise/

    If he is not sleeping or laying nicely and playing with his toys or chewing on something appropriate it is time to exercise.

    TJ Reply:

    Thank you for replying again. I appreciate it. I neglected to mention that as I thought it irrelevant – yes, he is crate trained. He spends about an hour a day in it, and at night to sleep.

    We do give him the run of the little kitchen and small living area for 5 or 10 mins at a time when we go upstairs, etc. Is that not a good thing, then? Should we crate him even for a few minutes absence?

    He gets 15 mins sessions of exercise outside about 5 times per day. He does play with his toys inside, but gets bored of them within seconds often. He also drops them and runs to me if I walk more than 5 feet away from him, about half of the time. If I leave the room he is sequestered in, half the time he rings the bell (to get me back, I suspect!)

    I tend to think he is bored easily, too. How many toys is appropriate for a puppy? He has a couple of chew ones, one large stuffed one, two small squeaky ones, a rope/nylon bone one, a little blanky, and when I leave him in the crate and go out, a peanut-butter filled Kong. Perhaps this is not enough, or they are not stimulating enough?

    Minette Reply:

    My puppies have a toy box of many different types of toys check out this article and subsequent picture of my puppy and his toy box and toys.

    If I can’t be with my puppy I crate him even for 5 minutes. This is also good crate training because he doesn’t know whether it will just be 5 minutes or an hour etc. I never leave my young puppies unattended when they are little and potty training.

    And, again 15 minutes of exercise is simply not enough for a puppy they need probably at least 4X that amount per session. A good puppy is a sleeping puppy

  15. Carol says:

    Hi,
    I have a Westie, 11 mos. old. She is still having occasional peeing accidents. By occasional, I mean once or twice a week, which, I feel, is too much for her age. She is crated when we aren’t home, and that works great. When we are home, (we have a bi-level), she’ll go down the first few steps and stare at us until someone takes her out…or she’ll whine if we don’t see her. I would love to try the bell method, but I’M not disciplined enough :). When she has an accident, I am so surprised because most of the time she is really good about it, so I may react a bit harshly, which may confuse her. Is this something she will grow out of? People have told me that smaller breeds are a little more difficult to train. I love her so, and she is a joy to our home.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I can tell you with assurity she won’t grow out of it if you react harshly.

    I can also tell you it won’t change unless you follow her outside and inside the house so she doesn’t have a chance to go

    [Reply]

    Carol Reply:

    Thank you for your quick reply. So, patience, endurance, and sticking to it will pay off. I guess it’s best not to react when I find an accident. If I catch her in the act, say “no” and bring her outside immediately, and praise her like she’s won an olympic medal when she potties in the right place!
    Again, thank you.

    [Reply]

  16. Lisa says:

    I have a 1yr old male beagle who is trying my patience!! He is so good all day – standing by the door to signal he has to go. I make it a practice to let him out often. At nighttime it’s a different story. He will even go again 5 minutes after he’s been outside, and right in front if us!
    I have the bell on the door but he never really took to it – maybe I just didn’t stick with it but I followed similar steps as you describe
    Any advice would be helpful

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    My guess is you’re having problems because you don’t see him at night and he doesn’t ring the bell.

    So teach him this method and stick with it until he understands or use a crate or keep him with you at night.

    [Reply]

  17. Nicole says:

    Hello,

    I am going to be getting a puppy Saturday. It is a male Labradoodle. It is already crate trained and potty trained. I wanted to know when is it too soon to introduce the bells to him? I have a very large apartment that is connected to my office, so I have the ability to work from home. This will give me the opportunity to have the dog with me all day. He will be crated at night and when I am running errands, or cleaning and cannot pay full attention to him. When I take him out of the crate I will be taking him outside to go potty. I would like to use the bells method, however I am afraid that placing him in a new home and bells might be too much all at once. I thank you in advance for any advice you can offer.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Even though he is potty trained where he is at doesn’t mean he will be potty trained at your house…

    I would put the bell on the door for several days/weeks and when you go out just ring it to condition him to the sound and once he has a handle on potty training at your house you can teach him to ring it on his own 🙂

    [Reply]

    Nicole Reply:

    Thank you very much. I am looking forward to loving my new puppy and giving him a forever home.

    [Reply]

  18. Steve says:

    I have a border collie and though we have tried to train him to use the bell, the annoying thing is, he goes to it every minute even if he doesn’t want to go potty. You said to be patient about it since he’s just being introduced to this new habit but it really gets on everyone’s nerves. We scold him when he does that but he still keeps at it.

    [Reply]

  19. Neal says:

    We are doing bell training however our only problem is that she does not take the initiative to go to the door and ring the bell on her own. She will only do it if we are watching. Yesterday she went 12 hours without going out and we don’t want that.

    Do you have any suggestions on how to make her communicate to us on her own without our involvement of going to the door and suggesting “potty” to her?

    [Reply]

  20. Mary says:

    I rescued a 9mth old border collie lab mix that is possibly the quietest dog I have ever met. She did good about pottying outside but she has had a few accidents. I realized that this was because she is so quiet if I am not watching at all times I miss her signal so I am trying the potty bells. I have been very consistent with ri ging when we go out to potty and can get her to ring them if I am standing there by asking her to ring the bells if she needs to go potty. So the good news is that she will touch the bells. The problem i am having is that she does it so quietly I would never hear it if she is doing it on her own. How do I get herkto ring it louder? Please help. And I know this may be strange having someone ask how to get their dog to ring it louder but I need her tk be able to signal me when I am working. Thanks in advance.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    I would look into a louder bell online.

    Some people have their dogs ring a bell like a doorbell, that is much louder than a regular bell but not quite as loud as a doorbell… you can do a search and find them online

    [Reply]

  21. Melissa B. says:

    We just got a 1 yr old Yorkiepoo and we love him but we didn’t get a puppy puppy because we wanted a dog house trained already because I have a toddler and our house is for sale. Now that we got him he has a few accidents a day. When I wake up I take him out and he pees and walked back to the house as if he is finished. He usually poops about 15 minutes after I bring him back in to the house. Because of that I adjusted his potty breaks to going out after waking and then again 15 minutes later. Now he goes pee for the first break and poop on the next but seems to come back in and poop again. Why? And is there a way to get both breaks into one so I am not going out twice when I am half asleep. I am really kind of clueless and would appreciate a suggested schedule/routine.

    Lastly, most of his other accidents are when my husband is around. When my husband pets him he doesn’t pee but if he approaches him, leashes him, or tries to teach him to sit he pees. He seems to be afraid of him. What the dog doesn’t realize is my husband would probably snuggle him more than anyone else in the house if only he would let my husband get close.

    Thank for any help,
    Meliss B.

    [Reply]

  22. Barbara Ghelarducci says:

    We got Lady almost two years ago as a Rescue from a puppy mill. Up until that point she was never out of a cage. I will never forget her reaction to having grass touch her feet for he
    first time. At first, she did pretty well with the potty training and she almost never went in the house. Now she has
    regressed and she is going her poo almost daily in the house. This is sometimes right after we take her outside. She is taken
    out on a regular basis. She is sometimes afraid to be outside, especially if there is any kind of noise like a law mower, car going by, or thunder. Instead of doing her business she will run and sit by the door leaving me standing out in the middle of the yard. I would like to ask if this is correct. When I find that she has pooed, I walk over to her, put her on her leash and walk her to where she pooed. I show it to her and tell her NO very
    sternly and then I walk her to the door and say OUTSIDE and take her out. So far she is not getting it. She is a Sheltie which is a fairly intelligent dog. But, she is not getting it. She also
    stays in her crate with the door open, or in that same corner if
    I lock her out of the crate, for most of the day. She is very
    fearful despite the fact we are pouring love out on her. I am
    frustrated. What am I doing wrong?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You are traumatizing her… instead you should walk yourself over to her accident and ask why she has been allowed access to the house without pooping outside.

    I also think that pouring love on her probably isn’t helping although people think it will.

    Dogs need direction and rules and an owner they can trust.

    Imagine being punished for doing something you HAVE to do (go potty) she doesn’t understand WHY you are yelling at her for doing something that is natural for her.

    Instead you need to keep her on a leash with you or use a crate.

    And work on desensitization for her phobias http://www.thedogtrainingsecret.com/blog/understanding-desensitization-dog-training/

    [Reply]

  23. Christina says:

    My puppy was doing great using the bells to let us know she had to go out but now she’s using them for attention or to go eat sticks outside. What do we do!!?

    [Reply]

  24. Deborah says:

    I think I messed up! I put a bell on my back door and would coach my 4 month old puppy to touch it to go pee or poo. When she did, I’d praise and treat her and take her out. I didn’t trust her to tell me on her own. I would walk her in the kitchen, tell her to touch the bell then treat her and take her out. I did not allow her to just walk in the kitchen on her own and ring the bell. Now she just disregards the bell all together. Do I put it up for a while and try again later? HELP! I am a first time puppy momma and have no clue what I’m doing! !

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Yup try again and go by the directions in this article

    [Reply]

  25. Erin K. says:

    I have an interesting problem with the bell method. We taught our puppy how to use the bell at about 4 months old and he has been doing well with it. He is 6 months now, however within the last couple weeks he has been ringing the bell, but then pees immediately afterwards on the floor. I thought I wasn’t getting him out quick enough, but it happened again today only an hour after having him out before, so I don’t feel he is really desperate to go. Not sure if we mixed signals somehow. Should we basically start over??

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Yes, go back to following him around or having him on leash and then get him out as soon as possible after bell ringing.

    Also, a dog can need to go potty an hour or less after having gone out. It is more contingent on how much fluid goes in.

    I have a dog that drinks a lot at night and then needs to pee 20 minutes later. So I either restrict water or let her out often.

    [Reply]

  26. Chris says:

    We have a 10 mo old cavapoo who was bell trained very quickly. The last couple of weeks she has stopped ringing the bell and we find accidents in the house even though we take her out regularly. She is crate trained and she can last through the night with no problem.
    It can be pee one time and poop the next day.
    She gets a lot of attention, so we are not sure what is causing the change.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    You must back up in your training and not allow her access to the house then; unless this is a dynamic change and then I would consider a vet visit.

    Any time something changes drastically then there could be an infection looming and only your vet can do those tests.

    [Reply]

  27. LYNNE says:

    Hi Minette:

    My 12 yr old wire-haired pointing griffon has done beautifully for years with the bell on the back door. Now we’re about to move to a home where the back door is down a flight of steps (it’s a reverse 1.5 story home) Plus there’s a door on the main floor to a deck.

    Three concerns I’d love to have you address:

    1. We want to put bells on the lower level door. She’s a fast learner, so I’m hoping she’ll be quick to “get” that she has to go down the steps to go out. Only concern is will we hear the bells?? Any thoughts on what we might do?

    2. As a second “peep/poop” option, we were thinking about putting a Porch Potty on the main floor deck because she occasionally wakes up in the middle of the night to pee. Would it be too confusing to have two places (lower door and main floor door) to go out? Perhaps just focus on the main floor for the first few months and the try the other one? Or is just too darn confusing to consider a second option?

    3. No fences allowed in this development (arrghh) and I don’t trust invisible fences. So…she will be on a “dog trolley” the overhead line thing. Do you expect that this will blow her mind? She gets walked alot, but she’s used to running around a fenced yard. Thoughts on how best to approach this?

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    First, I would pick a door to train with, one at a time. Otherwise, yes, in the beginning I think it will be confusing. Then add another.

    You can put in a bell anywhere you want, down by the door or at the top of the stairs. If she understands the bell she will figure it out if you show her. You can also get bells that ring very loudly. They are for people with huge houses but it is almost like a fire alarm kind of bell. You can search for those online.

    Then, I HATE tethers! They are less safe than invisible fence because dogs can get stuck or have the tether catch around their legs. They can hang themselves or brake or injure or cut an artery.

    With that said…. I rent a house in the country right now and I can’t have a fence either.

    I have used invisible fence and/or tether, but I ALWAYS go out with them. It doesn’t matter if it is 3 in the morning and 20 below I go out to make sure nothing is in my yard, Coyotes and to get them out and in, in a timely manner.

    Without a 6 foot fence, I don’t trust anything!

    [Reply]

  28. Tim says:

    Our 22 week St Bernard has really caught on to the bell training. The problem we have is she will ring the bell constantly wanting to go outside. We have dealt with some issues wile house breaking her. She has had a couple bladder infections which set us back during the house breaking process. She will literally go to the door 10 -15 times in a 20 minute period. We take her out every time and majority of the time she does not go and just wants to play or chew on things. Her bladder issues have cleared up but we are not 100% confident that she is totally house broken. Is there anything we can do to help this situation.

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    The more exercise she gets, the less she will ask to go outside out of boredom. I would let her play, play retrieve games, and just in general give her more exercise.

    Then let her out when she asks to go.

    [Reply]

  29. Steve Deeble says:

    My two Golden Retriever female puppies (4 months old) never have a problem using our doggy door in the family room to go out and in without any bladder problems. Indeed its amazing to see dogs in almost a dead sleep get up and walk out side to do their business then come back and fall asleep. Now for the problem, one of the puppies (who never had this problem before) has on several occasions recently peeped at the top of the stairs for no real reason. She loves running up down them so we know she is not afraid. The other puppy does not have this problem. I want to catch this problem in the bud. The dogs sleep in our room as night and have never had any bladder issues. PLEASE do you have any suggestions? 6-23-2016

    [Reply]

    Minette Reply:

    Perhaps she has a urinary or bladder infection and a trip to the vet is in order.

    [Reply]

  30. Casady says:

    Help! We have a maltipoo, and have finally settled on the bell method, but she’s terrified. We are trying to slowly get her used to it… Ideas?

    [Reply]

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