Potty Training

We just had a serious accomplishment this morning, so I decided it must be blogged about!  🙂

Sadie rang the potty bells, I took her outside and she went poop!  I know, it’s a bit TMI, but I’m so proud of her {for ringing the bells}!

Sadie has only had a few accidents in our home and most of those were our fault.

Here are the things we have done that have been very successful with Sadie:

We take Sadie out to potty right after she eats a meal, wakes up from a nap and during/after a big indoor play session.  These activities seem to leave her needing to go, regardless of the last time she went potty.  This means that sometimes she goes out twice in a 60 minute time period.  I know at 10 weeks old, she should be able to hold her bladder for 3+ hours, but that is in a resting state, not during vigorous play.

When Sadie is playing, we watch her carefully for the ‘sniffing’ signal that means I’m about to pee.  I interrupt her (sometimes that means I physically pick her up) and tell her we are going potty.  After potty breaks, she can resume play.

I try to be proactive with the potty breaks.  I am taking her outside A LOT.  The idea is to teach her she can only potty outside.  After a few days of these excessive outside trips, Sadie seemed to understand and would walk to the door when she needed to go outside.  Any accidents she had were because we didn’t see the signals.  Enter: Poochie Bells.  I saw these in a magazine and of course, googled them!  🙂

So far, I love them.

For the first few days, I would take her paw and hit the bells and say ‘ring the bells to go potty’ and I’d take her potty.  Then I introduced the magic weapon – treats!  🙂

I held a small treat up over the bells and told her to ring them to go potty. (I made sure to do this when she did have to go potty.) When she rang the bells, I gave her the one-bite treat and opened the door.

Down the stairs and potty we went.

Then we went right back inside and I gave her another treat and tons of praise.

Of course, she re-rang the bells to get another treat.  No immediate treat, but I opened the door and we went back outside.  I knew she wouldn’t potty, but I told her to.  She started to “play”.  So, I picked her up and brought her back inside.  No treat.  She rang the bells a few more times and I stopped what I was doing and took her out and right back in.  The third time, she did actually potty, so I gave her a treat as soon as we were back inside.  I want to associate the bells with potty only.  Once she learned to ring the bells, I stopped treating the ringing and only treat the potty.  I learned, it is best to keep some treats right by the door for a fast, easy reward.

I have only been using the potty bells for a few days and I know we will still need a lot of practice.  I’m hopeful that in a few days we will hear the results of this training!

I am using a different door to take her outside to play.  I’m not sure this is important, but we have two doors very close to each other, that both lead to the backyard, so it’s not inconvenient.  I don’t want her to hear bells ringing unless we go potty.  I do hang the bells on the door, so they ring when the door opens & closes.  You could hang them on a hook next to your door.

I’ll let you know how this progresses.

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14 thoughts on “Potty Training

  1. We are using bells, too. It was wonderful with our previous springer. We did not differentiate between potty & play since I was willing to let Kitty out whenever she asked. The bell ringing was emphatic if she saw a squirrel! She did not always want to go out alone and we did not always want to accompany her. We kept a bucket of tennis balls handy to throw for her to go out alone. Marcus rang last night and this morning….Yea!

      • So far he is very cooperative going in the crate and will occasionally go right back in after we let him out & come in from outside. He was alone today from 8:30 am til 3:30 Pm with one short break around 1:00 when a neighbor let him out on a short walk. He was loaded for bear from 3:30 to 5 and is now sacked out. We have a tray on top of the crate with his leash and a few supplies that is now dumped on the floor when we come home….I expect the novelty to wear off soon. We have the crate in the dining room by the front door and he is now doing well overnight.
        I have a couple of full days coming up and need to find someone to let him out a couple of times those days….a little worried. We are doing well with come and are just starting sit….a tad harder. He is definitely ringing the bells and and I am enthusiastic if he goes potty and matter of fact and quick back in if he does not.
        Unproductive trips are less rewarding for both of us, so I expect them to decrease. Marco likes to be right on us some times and near but physically apart others. We sometimes cannot resist cuddling him when he is otherwise happy on his own or sleeping, but also try to let him have his “me time” as it is good for him and us. If I am holding him and he moves away to settle down I respect that. He has a independent streak and some of that is a good thing.

  2. Good dog Sadie! She is making great progress.

    Do you leave a radio on when you leave Sadie at home alone in her crate? We did that for our pups and still leave the tv on whenever we are at a hotel with them and have to step out for a bit. Not loud, just as background noise.

    • Her crate is in the family room and we leave the TV on for her. I am going to buy a traditional Kong today to fill with peanut butter & freeze to give her a “longer” treat while we are gone. She does enjoy the treats we leave her. I think she only realizes we are gone once the treat is finished. I have tried to cover the crate, but she seems to be more relaxed with it uncovered.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story about Sadie and her accomplishments with Poochie-Bells. We are so proud of her! Looking forward to hearing more about her progress.

  4. That’s great progress! Way to go, Sadie!

    We did something similar with Gus. We hung a (very cute) treat bag on the door and trained him to stand at the door when he wanted to go out. The bells are a great idea!

  5. OK this sounds stupid but it works for me since I am often the one to crate the dogs. I tell them to be good and that “I have to go to work, I’ll be back later”. I have said this since they were pups just as I am leaving, (and to our Golden before the Chessies). I don’t always go to work, sometimes it is the store or to a party, but they don’t know that….lol. I guess I figure they eventually understood that I am leaving but will be back. Or it just makes me feel better!

  6. When we first got our dog Chewy he was the same way with the crate. He would bark and fuss. I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point he realized we were coming back and the barking completely stopped, he actually would go in there to relax.

    We used food to help make the crate associated with good things. I also think it’s important to crate while you are home as well, so they do not associate always you leaving when they go in, that makes it less of a negative thing as well.

  7. Thought some readers might be interested to know that our Marco is Sadie’s brother. We also had a springer previously.

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