Potty training is no easy feat, but once you’ve nailed the basics, you can take your dog’s potty routine to a whole new level and make your life even easier.
In many cases, dogs will stand by or scratch at the door when they need to go outside, but you can easily miss this if you aren’t paying attention. And this can lead to unwanted accidents.
And, let’s be honest; remembering when you last let your pooch out can be hard, especially if you’re busy, but what if he had a simple and more noticeable way to let you know when he needed to go potty?
Training your pup to use a bell or a talking button is a neat way for your dog to make it loud and clear when he needs to be let out to relieve himself.
If you want to teach your dog to ring a bell to go outside, keep reading.
The Benefits Of Bell Training Or Button Training
Teaching your dog to use a bell or a button for potty time offers a range of benefits for both you and your furbaby:
Clear Communication: Firstly, using a button or a bell provides a clear method of communication.
Instead of guessing or watching for subtle signs of discomfort, you will have a tangible signal that your pooch needs to go outside.
This reduces the chances of accidents within the home, ensuring a cleaner living space and less stress for everyone involved.
Independence: This potty training method also promotes independence and confidence in dogs, allowing them to actively communicate their needs rather than waiting passively.
Over time, this can strengthen the bond between you and your furbaby as the system reinforces trust and understanding.
Consistency: If you’re not at home, and another member of the family, or a dog sitter, is with your pooch, knowing you’ve trained him to use a bell or a button to signal he needs to potty will allow for consistency and will prevent accidents.
There will be no misunderstanding about what your dog needs, even if you’re not there.
Convenience: Finally, using a bell can be especially beneficial and convenient for people with larger homes or for those who might not always be in the same room as their pet, as the audible signal can be easily heard.
Choosing A Bell Or Button For Potty Training
The first thing to do is to choose your bell or button. Let’s look at the options for a bell first:
Picking The Right Bell
The simplest option is to just hang a bell from your back door handle using a ribbon. Or alternatively, hang the bell near the door on a hook.
A sleigh bell is often a good option here, but whichever bell you choose, you need to be able to hear it throughout the house.
The benefit of choosing a bell like this is that it’s a cheap solution, but it can easily be knocked off the door or hook if it’s not tied tightly.
Another option is to use a doggy bell, which are readily available online.
Or, you can just use a doorbell and place it near the back door.
With this option, you will need to choose a chime for your doorbell that’s different from the one for your front door, or things might get confusing!
Using A Talking Button
For the most high-tech option, you can choose a talking button.
Talking buttons are more expensive than a traditional bell, but they’re still fairly inexpensive.
These buttons allow you to record a word like ‘potty’ or ‘outside’ so that when your pup presses it, it will sound, and you’ll know what it is your dog needs.
You can also record other messages for other actions, like ‘play’ or ‘food’ so your pooch can let you know what he needs … although we know a few dogs who would definitely take advantage of the ‘food’ button!
How To Teach Your Dog To Use A Bell Or Button
Now you’ve chosen your button or bell, it’s time to teach your dog to use it.
Follow these easy steps:
The first thing you need to do is to introduce your dog to the bell or button, teach them not to be afraid of it, and show them how to use it. Make it fun!
The best way to begin introducing anything new to your pooch is to use food!
Let your dog have a good sniff of the device or bell, and give plenty of reinforcement during the interactions.
Encourage your pooch to set the bell or button off and give him a reward.
It can be helpful to add a little peanut butter or another delicious, spreadable treat to the bell to get your dog to touch it. When he does, reward him again.
You can also introduce a command such as ‘ring’ or ‘touch’ during the training process.
Repeat this activity for a few days before moving on to the next step.
Now your dog is familiar with the bell or button, you need to teach him how to use it to go potty.
Place your button or bell next to the door that your dog uses to go outside and make sure it’s within his reach.
Next time you are letting your dog out to relieve himself, say ‘touch’ if you’ve used such a command during the training process. Or alternatively, place a treat near the bell or button to encourage your dog to interact with it.
When your dog touches the bell or button, then say, ‘Go potty’ or whatever command you give your dog when he goes to relieve himself and open the door to let him outside.
As he comes back inside, praise him and give him a reward.
Do this every time you take your dog to go potty. And be consistent with this training over a period of a few weeks while your pup gets used to this process.
Over the course of a couple of weeks, reduce your interaction with the bell or button and instead leave it up to your dog to initiate contact with the bell or button, providing plenty of positive reinforcement when he does it.
Remember that every dog is different, so the training time required with vary from dog to dog, but don’t give up. If you’re consistent and patient, your dog will get it.
Can I Train An Older Dog To Use A Bell To Potty?
The saying ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ is so unfair.
Dogs are such smart animals, and they can be trained throughout their lives, regardless of their age.
If you want your dog to use a bell or a button for potty purposes, then it can be beneficial to start when they are a pup because that’s when you’re actually doing the potty training.
However, if you’ve only recently come across this method and want to teach an older dog, you absolutely can.
The steps we’ve outlined above work just as well with an older pooch as they do with an eager, young pup.
Our Top Tips
As with any type of dog training, practice makes perfect, but here are some of our top tips to help you along the way:
Get the household involved: Consistency with dog training is so important, so if you’re teaching your pooch to use a bell or button to go outside, make sure everyone in the household knows this.
Bring them along on the training journey for you, and show them how to practice this with your dog. If you have children in the household, we guarantee they will love being involved in this.
Don’t scold your pup: Your pup will sometimes make mistakes during your training journey, and it’s important to avoid scolding them as this can undo all the hard work you’ve done together.
Instead of telling your dog off if he has an accident, or forgets to use the bell, just keep practicing.
Don’t open the door: Habit will have you reaching for the door handle to let your pup outside if you notice he’s exhibiting behavior that indicates he needs to go potty.
However, try to refrain from doing this and wait for him to ring the bell instead. You can even offer a little encouragement to remind him to press the button or ring the bell before you open the door.
Be patient: The number one rule with any dog training is to just have patience. Just like humans, different dogs learn at different paces. Just keep practicing, and your pooch will get there.
Teaching your puppy or dog to use a bell or a button to notify you when he needs to go outside is a great way to elevate your potty training.
You can train your pup, or an older dog, to do this in three steps, and you’ll never have to worry about missing the signs that he needs to potty again.
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