Here's how we did it successfully:
- Show your dog the bell after you hang it.
- Help it associate the bell with positive things by holding out treats near the bell and ringing the bell when the dog comes to retrieve the treat.
- If your puppy dislikes or is scared of the sound of the bell, teach it to be comfortable with the bell before using the bell as part of potty training.
- Help your dog learn to ring the bell. When you’re taking the dog outside for its schedule bathroom time, set it first next to the bell and use its paw to ring the bell while saying “outside.” Any hint of a ring should open the door for both of you to go out. Praise your dog when it rings the bell!
- Another option is to say “outside” and tap your fingers on the wall or door next to the bell--without ringing it yourself--to encourage your dog to lift its paws to the bell.
- Be sure to show your dog that the bell is now associated with going out to use the bathroom, not just with getting a treat.
Other helpful hints:
Just a few occurrences of the same pattern of cause and effect will set the association in their minds.
Take the bell with you when you and your dog travel. Similarly, send the bell with your dog if it stays at another home while you’re away.