When you train your dog to ring a bell to let you know if he needs to go potty outside, this is called “dog potty bell training”.
Many people love to train their dogs this way because of its so many benefits (discussing in a while), and here we are going to walk you through step by step; how to train your dog to use these bells, answers to commonly asked questions and some tips to make the process more successful.
- Benefits of dog potty bell training
- Should you use the bell for potty training?
- When to start the bell training?
- How to teach a dog to ring the bell when he needs to go? 5 Steps.
- How long does it take to potty bell train a puppy?
- If the dog rings the bell all the time to go outside?
- Our top tips for dog potty bell training.
- Best Dog potty bells
Benefits of dog potty bell training:
There are several benefits of using potty bells like:
- Use of potty bells replaces the barking or other annoying cues.
- It helps when you are busy doing something and you miss when he shows the cue that he needs to go potty.
- It’s a better way of communication
- Use of positive reinforcement will help the puppy to follow good behavior.
Should I use the bell for puppy potty training?
Definitely, you should use the bell to potty train your puppy. It has a lot of benefits and it’s easier for your dog to communicate his needs.
Moreover, it’s great if you live in a large house and you can’t watch your dog 24/7.
But when someone is always there for the puppy who can open the door for him or take him outside, a bell is a great option. Just make sure to build a strong association of going potty and ringing the bell, and remember that it should be a positive association.
When to start bell training?
It is recommended to start the bell training after he is fully potty trained.
Bell training becomes confusing when your puppy is not already house trained so we recommend starting using it when he is already trained and you can tell “when he needs to go”, either this is a schedule or you know the cues.
Here is our complete guide to potty-train your puppy (step-by-step). If your puppy is not already trained, you can use this guide to learn more.
How To Teach A Dog to ring the bell to go potty (5 steps)
Let’s walk through the steps to teach your dog to use the bell.
We have 3 key points for this method. By this method, we will make sure that the dog doesn’t get scared of the potty bells.
- Making the dog familiar with the sound of the bell.
- Training him how to use it.
- Training him to use it for a specific purpose i.e. to go to the toilet.
Step 1- Make The dog Familiar With The potty Bell so he doesn’t get scared:
When you first get the bell, it’s good to only show him. You can hang it somewhere where the dog spends his time or show him the bell and give him the treat to encourage a positive association with it.
Step 2- Make Him Familiar With The Sound:
Sit with your dog, show him the bell (treat ready!) and lightly touch the bell, say “yes” and treat!
Repeat this a few times and slowly turn the volume up. Every time you ring the bell, give your dog a treat. This way he won’t get scared of the sound.
Instead, it will build a positive association. The dog will know that this sound means a treat.
Step 3- Teach Nose Targeting:
If you haven’t taught your dog “nose targeting”, it’s time.
Hold a treat in one hand and with the palm of your other hand, touch your dog’s nose lightly, say “yes” and treat!
Repeat a few times and then only show him the hand. He is most likely to touch your hand with the nose. When he does, say “yes” and treat.
Repeat this behavior a few times until your dog knows how to touch something with the nose.
Step 4- Use of nose to ring the bell:
Right after teaching him to use the nose to touch your palm! Now it’s time to teach him to ring the bell.
If you are using a jingle bell, hold the bell in your hand (with your thumb), and show your palm to your dog. When he will touch your palm, the bell will ring, say “yes” and treat!
Slowly move the bell away from your hand and with the other hand, point towards the bell. It’s highly likely that the dog will ring the bell. Say “yes” and treat!
Repeat a few times until your dog knows that ringing the bell with the nose means to treat.
A quick tip: The bell should be around his nose, not around his paws, otherwise he may try to ring the bell with the paw and that’s not what we want.
If you are using a buzzer bell, it should be easier. Just fix the bell on the wall and while you are training him to use the nose to touch your palm, just place the hand on the bell (Palm towards the dog) and the dog will touch your palm. You must ring the bell using the back of the hand, just instantly. Say yes and treat!
Now remove your hand and point your finger towards the bell. Your dog will ring it with its nose. Hurray!
Time for a treat.
Repeat this again and again until your dog learns to ring the bell through his nose.
Step 5- Train the dog to ring the bell to go potty.
Now fix the bell near the door. If you are using a Jingle bell, hang it on the doorknob. If you are using a buzzer bell, paste it on the door.
You must be knowing your puppy’s schedule for relieving himself. You’ll have to run with him.
When it’s time, go with your dog and ring the bell while passing through the door.
You can ring the bell by yourself or encourage the puppy to ring it with his nose.
While passing through the door, point towards the bell and say “nose”. When he rings it, say “yes” and treat. Then take him to the potty spot.
Do this every time until the dog associates ringing the bell with going potty.
Remember, don’t ring the bell when you are going for a walk or play. Otherwise, there is a huge risk that you will have to listen to that “ding dong” all the time.
When you take your dog outside after ringing the bell, don’t start playing with him. Head back inside right after he is done.
Within a few days, your dog will start ringing the bell to go outside when he needs to potty.
How Long does it take to potty bell train a puppy?
You are not supposed to potty bell train a puppy until he becomes a fully potty trained dog. It should take no more than 1-2 weeks to train the dog to ring the bell to go potty.
Dog rings the bell to go outside all the time. What to do?
If the dog rings the bell all the time to go outside, there are chances that he is not associating the bell with going potty or maybe he is trying to get your attention.
To solve this problem, the only way is to know his schedule and pay attention only when it’s time. Otherwise, just ignore it. This is why we recommend starting bell training after he is completely housetrained. Because when you’ll know his schedule, it will be easier for you.
Our top tips for dog potty bell training:
Here are a few super helpful tips to follow:
1- Don’t start too early
Bell training is not supposed to follow until the dog is fully potty trained, or at least 90% trained. You must be able to tell,” yes! This is the time for him to go potty.”
Don’t start using the bell until you know it.
2- Know the schedule
Before starting the bell training, you must understand the schedule that your dog follows, like after how much time of eating and drinking, he has to go. And what are the cues he shows when he feels the urge?
Try a template like this:
3- Don’t train him to use the paw
Some people start to train their dog to use the paw to ring the bell. We’ve seen people who hold a small puppy’s paw and teach him to ring the bell. This should not be a great way to use the bell.
You can train him to use the paw only if the bell is going to be placed on the floor.
If the bell is hanging or fixed on the wall, and your dog is trying to ring it with paws, there are huge chances that he will start scratching the door.
4- Bell shouldn’t be too loud
We recommend buzzer bells instead of hanging bells. You can set the volume according to your requirement.
Too loud a bell may make your puppy scared or may cause unnecessary noise in your home.
Best dog bells for potty training:
There are usually 2 types of potty bells available; jingle bell and buzzer bell.
We recommend using a buzzer bell for so many reasons.
- You can set the volume according to your requirement.
- It is great if you live in a big house and can’t hear the jingle bell’s sound in your room.
- Jingle bell may ring when moved with air and someone is just passing through the door.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our full disclosure here.
Here are the best bells for both types:
1- Best Buzzer Bell:
check out Mighty Paw Smart Bell:
This is the one that is loved by us and many other people who have used it.
It is so easy to use for you and your dog. The bell rings with only 0.75 lbs of pressure and the activator and receiver work even with a 1000 feet distance when they are indoor.
38 different ring tones and 4 different volumes.
It is water-resistant. so can be used outdoor too.
2- Best Jingle Bell:
Although it’s not as cool as the buzzer bell, many people use the jingle bell to train their puppies.
Here’s the one you can get from Amazon. Bluetree dog doorbell.
This bell’s design allows you to adjust it to 3 sizes so it’s suitable for multiple pets, including cats.
(Even if you don’t train your cat to ring it, she will ring it anyway).
The jingle bells are made up of durable metal and the string is made up of heavy-duty nylon.
The good thing is that the seller is happy to offer a refund or exchange, in case you are not happy with the product.
Dog is scared of potty bells : What to do then?
If you won’t use the right way to potty bell training, your dog may become scared of potty bells instead of using them to communicate.
You have to use the right strategy to introduce them to the bell sound.
Potty Bell Training: How to teach your puppy to ring the bell to go potty?
“To train a dog to ring the bell, you first need him to be fully potty trained. So that, you know his schedule. After that, you can train him to use the bell in 3 steps; Making him familiar with the bell and its sound, Teaching him the use of the bell, and then training him to ring it only when he needs to go to the toilet.”