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The Complete Guide to Dog Doorbells and Potty Bells

Dog doorbells and potty bells have become increasingly popular tools for dog parents seeking to improve their canine companions’ communication and housetraining skills. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to these training tools and explain how to use them effectively. Next, we’ll review the pros and cons of incorporating them into your training routine. Finally, we’ll share the types or characteristics of dogs that may benefit from using these training methods.

What are dog doorbells and potty bells?

Dog doorbells and potty bells are cleverly-designed training aids. They help dogs communicate their need to go outside to relieve themselves. Pet parents typically hang these bells from a door handle or mount them near an exit. This placement allows your dog to alert you when nature calls. By teaching your dog to ring the bells, you establish a clear and efficient method of communication for your pup.

How to use dog doorbells and potty bells

Using dog doorbells and potty bells is a straightforward process that requires consistency and positive reinforcement. According to the Animal Behavior Specialist for the Wake County, NC, SPCA and Certified Dog Trainer Molly Stone, you can have your dog using the bells properly within just two weeks of training. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you (and your dog) going. 

Choose the bells

Select a set of bells that are durable, easily accessible, and suit your dog’s size and reach. Check out Amazon’s best-selling dog doorbells to get started.

Introduce the bells

Hang the bells near the door you typically use to take your dog outside. Next, allow your dog to sniff and investigate the bells to familiarize themselves with the new object.

Create bell association

Every time you approach the door to let your dog out, gently touch their paw or nose to the bells, making them chime. This action helps your dog associate the sound of the bells with going outside.

Reinforce the behavior

When your dog rings the bells on their own, immediately praise them and take them outside to the designated potty area. This positive reinforcement encourages the behavior and reinforces the connection between ringing the bells and going outside.

Pros and cons of using dog doorbells and potty bells

Like any training tool, dog doorbells and potty bells come with their own set of advantages and considerations.


  1. Enhanced communication: Dog doorbells provide a clear and consistent method for dogs to signal their need to go outside. This innovative form of communication reduces accidents and confusion.
  2. Improved housetraining: By using dog doorbells, you empower your dog to take an active role in their potty routine. This promotes independence and faster housetraining.
  3. Versatility: These training aids can be used for dogs of all ages, breeds, and health statuses.


  1. Initial training effort: Teaching your dog to use the bells requires time, patience, and consistency on your part. Some dogs may take longer to learn the association between ringing the bells and going outside.
  2. Accidental ringing: In the beginning stages of training, your dog may occasionally ring the bells for attention or play. Expect a few unnecessary trips outside. This behavior can be managed with proper reinforcement and redirecting attention.

Which dogs benefit most from these training tools?

Dogs of all ages, breeds, and health statuses can use doorbells and potty bells effectively. However, these training tools may be particularly beneficial for:

  1. Puppies: Young puppies benefit from the clear communication provided by these bells. Using bells helps puppies establish good potty habits early, reducing accidents throughout their lifespan.
  2. Senior dogs: Older dogs may face health issues that affect their ability to hold their bladder for extended periods. Doorbells can help them indicate their need to go outside more effectively.
  3. Small breeds: Dogs with smaller bladders may benefit from the use of bells to alert their parents promptly.

More potty-training tips

Dog doorbells and potty bells serve as valuable tools for effective communication and housetraining with your dog. By teaching them to associate ringing the bells with going outside, you establish a clear and consistent method of communication. Although the training process requires effort and consistency, the benefits are numerous. Any technique that results in fewer accidents is a worthwhile investment of your time!

For more on housetraining, check out our guide to potty-training a rescue dog. Also, read up on mistakes to avoid when teaching your puppy how to potty outside!

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