Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Potty Bell

I haven't posted about potty training lately because, HALLELUJAH, Forest hasn't had an accident in the house for the past couple of months (besides that incident in April). We were really struggling for awhile, but I thinking the turning point came when we bought a potty bell.

We decided to get a bell after constantly finding Forest sitting at the front door waiting to go out (and we had no clue as to how long he had been waiting) or a puppy puddle on the kitchen floor. We thought it would be helpful if Forest could somehow signal when he needed to potty, but without barking or whining. We found two different types of potty bells: one was bell attached to a piece of rope that would hang from a door knob, and the other was free-standing bell that kinda looked like what you would ring for a bellhop at a hotel. We decided to buy the latter because we thought it would get really annoying to hear a bell ring every time we opened the door (plus we figured it would confound Forest).

After we bought the bell, we had to tackle the task of training Forest to use it. Similar to his crate training, every single time we took Forest outside to potty, we would first lift his little paw and gently push it down on the bell. Theoretically, puppies are supposed to eventually learn that ringing the bell automatically gives them a free pass outside, but we found that the word “eventually” is relative. Most of the books we read and the websites we looked at said that it may take a few days to a few weeks to train your puppy to ring the bell when he needs to go out. Ummm, it took 2 freaking months to train Forest to use the potty bell. After the first month, I felt like a complete jackass. An Albert Einstein quote kept repeating in my head "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Damn straight.

I’ll admit it, I almost gave up, but the crate training experience gave me hope that someday Forest could understand what the potty bell was for. Then, one day, Forest accidently rang the bell by licking it. YAY! Doggy got a lot of treats and praise. He quickly caught on after that and was ringing the bell every time he went out.

Of course, Forest soon learned to take advantage of the bell and rang it every time he wanted to go outside, not when he needed to go outside. Hear some kids playing outside? *RING* Want to go chew on some grass? *RING* Just desire some attention from your parents who, gasp, haven’t looked at you for 30 seconds? *RING*

So Nick and I had to retrain ourselves to not let Forest out every time he rings the bell. I think we’ve finally reached a nice equilibrium. We totally ignore Forest if he’s gone potty recently and rings the bell. If Forest hasn’t gone out in awhile and rings the bell, or if he loiters around the bell and persistently rings it, then we know the puppy really needs to go potty.


1 comment:

  1. HI There! I'd love to know where you got this bell from. I'm looking all over for it to no avail.