Have you ever met a dog that rings a bell to go outside? What are dog potty training bells? Well, if you’re not familiar with the practice, you might be surprised to find out this popular potty-training method is super easy to implement!

What are Dog Potty Training Bells, Anyway?

Think of dog training bells like doorbells. The bell alerts you, the dog owner, that the dog needs to go outside. When your dog feels the urge to go out, they ring the bell with their snout. This is a commonly used method of potty training for puppies.

Bell Training in 3 Easy Steps

Step 1: Touching Your Dog’s Nose to the Bell

First step, get your dog’s nose to touch the bell. Here’s some advice from the AKC, “If needed, you can encourage the puppy to touch the bell by holding a treat behind it or dabbing some peanut butter on the bell. Repeat until your puppy readily touches the bell with his nose, always giving lots of praise and a treat. When he confidently touches the bell as soon as you present it, add a word such as “touch” or “bell.” Start to hold the bell a little farther away, so the puppy has to make a few steps to touch it.”

Step 2: Ring the Bell

Now that your dog will touch the bell with their nose when you say “touch” or “bell,” you can move on to getting them to ring it. Place the bell on the door you want the dog to go outside. Then, when your dog rings the bell, reward them with praise and a treat.

Step 3: Ringing the Bell for Potty Time

Use your cue to have your dog touch or ring the bell. When they do, open the door and take them outside. Doing this repeatedly over the next few days or weeks will teach your dog to associate the bell ringing with going outside. Now, what might happen is that your dog wants to ring the bell to go play outside. If that happens, when they ring the bell, take them outside on a leash to the place you want them to go. When they go, bring them inside and give them a treat. If they don’t go, no treat. Just come right back into the house.

Should You Bell Train Your Dog?

This is up to you! If your dog is home with you a lot of time and you’re there to let them out, potty training bells are a great idea. If your dog is crated and you go on many walks, or if your dog knows how to tell you they need to go outside in other ways, bell training may not be necessary for you.

What’s certain is that this method of potty training is a great first exercise in obedience training for your puppy. It’s fun, motivated by the outdoors, and includes food. What’s not to like?

Bell Training Tips

  • Keep it Quiet: No new news here! Dog’s don’t like loud noises. And for your own sanity, choose a bell that has a pleasant sound that you can hear clearly in across your home. However, if your puppy is afraid of the noise still, dampen the sound by covering with a towel or taping them so they can’t move too much.
  • Continue Rewarding: Even if your dog rings the bell and you let them out successfully, you should be rewarding newly trained dogs. They are food motivated, and if you want them to keep up the behavior, food is a good way to do it. Why? Not every dog wants to spend time outside. If you don’t make the process extra yummy, they will dislike the whole process.
  • Set Reasonable Expectations: Potty training is a long process. It may take some time for them to learn to ring the bell when they must go outside, hold it long enough to go outside and repeat the behavior. Start giving your dog treats whenever they touch the bell, then go on from there.

This is a fun way to get your dog potty trained. In a busy household, it’s a way to alert you without barking or other unwanted behaviors.

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