Oscar potty trained quickly, but we have struggled with his occasional accidents. Young mini pigs can’t completely hold their bladder, so Oscar has accidents if he drinks too much water or if we don’t get him outside in time. Oscar knows to not go in the house, but he doesn’t have a way of telling me when he needs to go out. So, I recently set out to find a way for him to communicate to us when he needs to go outside.
I researched potential solutions and decided to try potty bells. Potty bells are essentially bells placed somewhere in the house, typically near an outside door, that a pet can ring when she wants to go outside. Dogs are often trained to ring potty bells, which helps with potty training and also provides a better alternative to scratching against a door when they need to go out. Since Oscar is so smart and trains quickly, I was certain he could learn to use them.
The potty bells arrived, and we placed them on a hook near the door we use to take Oscar out. We made sure the bells were snout high so that Oscar could reach them and then began the training. Each time we took Oscar outside to go to the bathroom, we rang the bells and said “outside.” After a few days, Oscar got curious about the bells and lightly tapped them with his snout, but he ran off scared when they jingled. Any time he jingled the bells, even by accident, we said “outside” and took him out.
After a week of consistent training, Oscar confidently rang the bells for the first time and stood by them waiting to go outside. I was so excited! The potty bells saved us from a few accidents when I didn’t know he needed to go, and I was thrilled to have a way for Oscar to communicate with me. The potty bells were working!
Then, Oscar outsmarted us. He rang the potty bells one morning, so I took him outside. After we came in, he walked around for about five minutes and rang the bells again. I knew he didn’t need to go, but I took him outside anyway so that I didn’t mess up his training. We came back in, and he rang the bells five minutes later. Oscar figured out that he could ring the bells to go outside and eat grass. Oscar loves eating grass, and ringing the bells got him a snack. I was a little upset about it, but I was also impressed at his intelligence. If ringing a bell got me a snack every time, I’d ring it too.
I tried only putting the bells out when I knew he didn’t have to go, but that defeated the purpose. So, we currently aren’t using the potty bells because Oscar loves them too much and rings them constantly. I love the idea of the potty bells and mini pigs train so quickly and easily with them, so I’m bummed they didn’t work for us.
If you have an outside area without grass or if you have a mini pig who doesn’t love going outside to eat grass, the potty bells might be a perfect solution for you. For now, I’m still working on finding a way for Oscar to let me know he needs to go outside without creating a system where he instead notifies me each time he wants to go eat grass. If I find something, I’ll definitely update!
If you are interested in trying potty bells with your mini pig, below are the bells we bought for Oscar. There are several good options on the market, but make sure to measure so that the ribbon is long enough to reach your mini pig’s snout. I picked these potty bells because the ribbon is a little longer than other brands, but measure so you know if they work for your home. Also, make sure the bells are loud enough for you to hear in another room; Oscar usually jingles them lightly. Although we aren’t currently using the potty bells, we are happy with the ones we bought.