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Bell Training For Dogs: The Ultimate Guide (7 Easy Steps)

Bell Training For Dogs

Just like how doorbells alarm you whenever there’s a visitor.

You can also teach your dog to jingle a chime to alert you when nature calls.

It saves time and keeps your carpet stain-free.

So it’s a win-win situation.


I’ve got some tips for you.

Continue reading to discover:

  • 3 top-rated dog bells for toilet training.
  • 7 easy steps to teach your dog to use a bell for potty breaks.
  • 5 troubleshooting tips in case training doesn’t go as planned.
  • And many more…

What is bell training for dogs?

Bell training teaches your dog to ring a chime when they need to go outside to potty. It allows easier communication and helps prevent accidents. You must put a bell by the door at your dog’s nose level to do this. Then, use rewards to make them associate ringing it with going to the bathroom.

Why should you bell train your dog?

  • It strengthens your bond.
  • It helps reduce frustration due to accidents.
  • It lets your dog communicate their needs clearly.

“How long does it take to bell train a dog?”

As long as you’re consistent, this can take up more or less than 2 weeks.

And you can do it even if you don’t have enough experience in training dogs.

But before we proceed with the steps…

Here are some things you must consider and be familiar with first.

3 best dog bells for potty training

#1: Hanging

This is a durable leash with pairs of small bells dangling.

Hanging dog doorbells are:

  • Easy to install.
  • Not permanently fixed.

So they’re perfect if you don’t want to damage your door or walls for installation.

#2: Mounted

Unlike the hanging type, you must permanently install this on the door or wall nearby.

Usually, mounted dog doorbells are made of:

  • Metal strap.
  • Large brass chime.

Thus, you can easily hear the clanging sounds even if you’re far from it.

Also, the bell’s inches away from the wall.

So your dog will be less likely to damage your door or wall whenever they ring it.

#3: Wireless

You may also invest in a wireless dog doorbell that can be heard around the house.

This is ideal if you have a larger:

  • Area.
  • Budget.

Just plug the receiver piece into a power outlet.

Then stick the doorbell by the door, and you’re all set.

Note: You can also customize the volume and ringing sounds in most products. So this offers more options than the rest in this list.

#BONUS: Dog buttons

These are like call bells you see on hotel lobbies’ desks.

So your Fido can tell you they’re about to potty with just a nudge.

Dog buttons are easy to use and install.

But they’re for smaller areas only.

Hence they’re a runner-up.

And since they stick on the floor, bigger dogs might easily remove them.

Ok. Now that you know the best doorbell options, it’s time for training.

7 easy steps to train your dog to ring a bell to go potty

#1: ‘Pick-a-bell’

First, choose a product that suits your home and furry friend.

For example, if they tend to swallow anything, avoid hanging type with small chimes.

Or if you have trouble hearing the bell sounds in your house, choose mounted or wireless with broader coverage.

To help you weigh each dog bell option…

I made a table you can use as a reference:

Type of dog bellEasy to installPermanentSmall sound coverageWide sound coverageCustomizable
Dog buttonsXX

#2: Introduce the bell to your dog

Introduce The Bell To Your Dog

Once you’re done choosing your training tool…

The next step’s to familiarize your dog with it.

Why’s that?

For your furry friend, the potty bell’s a new object.

It’s something they’ve never seen or smelled before.

Moreover, bells create tinkling and clanging sounds.

So your dog may get startled by them and develop fear.

Fidos tend to back away when they see something unfamiliar in front of them.

And this will make training harder.

Thus, to avoid negative associations…

Introduce the bell to your dog using yummy treats.

Research shows that food’s most effective in training. This is compared to praise and strokes.

What to do?

  1. Show the bell to your dog. (Don’t ring it yet.)
  2. Put it quietly on the floor.
  3. Let your dog sniff and investigate it.
  4. Offer them tiny pieces of treats.
  5. Toss some food near the bell.  
  6. Praise your dog if they come closer and eat it.

Next, do the following if your Fido’s calm:

  1. Move the bell slowly to create ringing sounds.
  2. Give your dog treats.
  3. Keep feeding them until they seem relaxed.
  4. Ring the bell again.
  5. Offer your dog a treat every time you do it.
  6. Repeat until they act calm, seeing and hearing the bell.

#3: Do the ‘touch training’

Did the introduction go well?

If so, teach your dog to touch the bell with their nose or paw.

Then eventually, this will train them to ring it.

What to do?

  1. Hold the bell near your dog’s nose.
  2. Say the cue word, “touch,” while tapping the bell.
  3. Tell “yes” excitedly if your dog nudges it. Give them treats too.
  4. Repeat for 10-15 minutes daily.

Next time, move the bell slightly away from your dog whenever you say “touch.”

And then increase the distance gradually.

This is to see if your furry pal will still do the command even if the bell’s in a new spot.

Keep doing this until your dog nudges the bell whenever you say “touch.”

Bell training is for dogs of all ages.

So you can even teach a small puppy to ring a bell, like this tiny Fido:

“But my dog ignores the bell. What should I do?”

If your dog doesn’t touch the bell, put a soft treat on it to lure them.

For example, you can use a small dab of:

  • Spreadable cheese.
  • Unsweetened peanut butter.

After the application:

  1. Hold the bell near your dog’s nose.
  2. Wait until they come closer.
  3. Say “touch” when they’re about to smell the treat.
  4. Tell them “yes” and reward them immediately once they touch the bell.
  5. Repeat.

Now, do you prefer using a clicker?

If so, press it instead of saying “yes” whenever your dog touches the bell.

This type of training uses the clicker’s sound to ‘mark’ a behavior.

It’s like telling your furry friend they did something good.

Then if you follow it with a treat, they’ll learn it’s a desired behavior. 

So they’ll likely do the action again.

Note: Use ‘high-value-but-healthy’ treats to entice your dog. These are yummy food you don’t often give to your Fido, such as:

  • DIY unseasoned jerky.
  • Plain-boiled chicken strips.
  • Apple slices (without core & seeds).

Give these in small amounts daily. Also, avoid poor dog treats high in sugar and additives.

You might also like: 5 Reasons Why Your Dog Barks When The Doorbell Rings + Tips

#4: Associate the bell with potty time

You may not know it, but your dog observes you.

Yup. They stare at you when they need something.

But sometimes, they also watch you.

And from there, they might learn something useful.

Like how you open the drawer filled with treats or unlock the door.

So now, use this to teach your dog how and when to use the bell.

What to do?

Install or hang the bell on the door you often use to go outside.

Ensure it’s below or at the level of their nose.

Once done

  1. Ring the bell before taking your dog to their toilet spot.
  2. Say a command like “outside.”
  3. Repeat this every potty time.

If your dog touches the bell reliably on command…

You can also say “touch” before going out to prompt them to do it.

Praise and give them a treat when they follow.

Note: Be consistent. After many repetitions, your dog will link the bell to toilet time. And soon, they’ll learn to ring it when nature calls.

#5: Repeat and reinforce

Consistency is the key in any training.

So keep going even if your furry friend made the correct association.

Repeat the same steps to reinforce the behavior further.

What to do?

Every time your dog needs to potty, ring the bell.

Or ask them to do the “touch” command.

Whenever your dog rings the bell:

  1. Take them to their toilet spot immediately.
  2. Wait until they poop.
  3. Say a cue word like “go potty” when they assume the position.
  4. Praise your dog and feed them afterward.
  5. Go inside.
  6. Repeat.

Continue doing this until your furry friend rings the bell on their own to go potty.

Reading tip: 10 Steps To Toilet Train A Puppy In 7 Days (How-To Guide)

#6: Cut down on the treats slowly

You must reduce the goodies you give as you go on.

This is to prevent your dog from becoming dependent on them.

Not only that, but extra calories can lead to obesity.

Also, too many snacks may upset your Fido’s tummy or spoil their appetite.

What to do?

If your dog knows how and when to ring the bell…

Cut down the treats gradually. Shower them with praises and strokes instead. 

For example, feed your dog 4 out of 5 times that they rang the bell before going potty.

Next time, make it 3 out of 5. And so on.

Keep this up until your Fido does it on command and doesn’t entirely rely on food.

#7: Be patient

Lastly, be consistent and keep practicing.

Your dog won’t master this skill overnight.

But it’s possible with your guidance and constant efforts.

Every day, make your furry pal ring the bell before potty time.

Also, remember to praise them a lot when they do.

Learn more: 27 Common Dog Training Mistakes + Fixes

“Help, my dog rings the bell to go outside all the time!” 5 tips

#1: Give clear signals

Your dog may have learned that the bell gets them what they want.

When they ring it, you appear and take them outside. Or you offer them treats right away.

So they’ll ring it whenever they need something. 

And not when they have to take a dump.

To correct this, follow the steps below.

Whenever your dog rings the bell:

  1. Put them on a leash.
  2. Go straight to their toilet spot.
  3. Never let them play around the yard or chase prey.
  4. Bring them back inside if they don’t poop within 10 minutes.
  5. Watch for “i-need-to-go-potty” signs (e.g., circling, sniffing the ground).
  6. Take your dog outside if you notice any of these.
  7. Repeat steps 1-4.

This teaches them that bell-ringing is only for potty trips. Not for playtime or hunting.

Be consistent and repeat this daily to help your dog connect the dots.

Now, if you have a hard time making your Fido eliminate…

You might also be interested in: 19 Simple Tips To Make A Dog Poop Quickly

#2: Start regular walks without bells

Start Regular Walks Without Bells

Ensure that no chimes were rung before going out for a walk or anything unrelated to potty.

This can help prevent confusion. As you’re training your dog to associate the clanging sounds with toilet trips.

So, keep the bell from being linked to other activities as much as possible.

#3: Stimulate your dog daily

A bored Fido will likely ring the bell for no reason.

And this could also be the reason for your dog’s behavior.

So, ensure your furry friend gets enough physical and mental exercise.


Here are some of the easiest things you can do:

  • Teach your dog new tricks.
  • Give them a chew toy or puzzle to solve.
  • Walk them once or twice daily (for 10-15 minutes).
  • Play their favorite game (e.g., fetch, hide and seek.).

Note: PetMD says most healthy dogs can walk for 20-30 minutes daily. So if your pooch still seems energetic at night, slowly increase their exercise. Then see if they calm down in the next few days.

#4: Avoid punishing your dog

I know it could be noisy and frustrating.

But if you snap at your dog for ringing the bell every minute, you’ll only confuse them.

As well as when you take them out but they don’t poop.

So, take a deep breath.

Remember, punishments will only make Fidos more fearful.

That’s why, instead of yelling or hitting your dog…

#5: Ignore obvious false alarms

Don’t take your dog outside if they’re going crazy over something else.

Say, when they’re ringing the bell as they see a mailman or another Fido.

They have no plans of taking a dump. And they only want to go outside or take a walk.

Bonus: 5 Ways To Make Your Own Potty Training Bell

#1: Tri-level dog bell

Let’s start with the easiest and least expensive option.

You may have a yarn lying around your house.

And with 5 simple steps, you can transform it into a dog potty bell.

What you’ll need

What to do?

  1. Cut the yarn into 3 different lengths:
  • 24 in (61 cm).
  • 27 in (69 cm).
  • 30 in (76.2 cm).
  1. Tie a bell at each yarn (1 bell:1 end).
  2. Gather all the pieces. The bells must fall at 3 different levels.
  3. Take the opposite ends of the yarn (without bells).
  4. Tie a knot that fits your doorknob.

Then that’s it.

Hang it on your exit door. And you’re set to bell train your Fido.

Note: You can adjust the yarn lengths to ensure the bells fall at your dog’s nose height. Check this before cutting to save time and materials.

#2: Ribbon & key rings

This is a simpler version of a hanging dog bell.

You can easily do this at home. As well as find the materials online or in craft stores.

What you’ll need

  • Scissors.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Ribbon – 1 in (25 mm) wide.
  • 1 pc key ring – 1.37 in (35 mm).
  • 3 pcs jingle bells – 1 in (25 mm).
  • Hot glue gun & stick (or thread & needle).

You may also use an old belt or leash instead of a ribbon.

Plus, it can be wider too. But ensure that the key ring still fits in it.

What to do?

  1. Cut an arm-length ribbon. About 28 in (70 cm).
  2. Grab 1 of its ends.
  3. Make a loop. Ensure it’s big enough for your doorknob.
  4. Flip the ribbon’s end before sticking them together. (Think of an ID lanyard.)
  5. Use hot glue to secure the loop. Or sew it by hand.
  6. Let it cool down.
  7. Put the 3 jingle bells into the key ring.
  8. Take the opposite end of the ribbon.
  9. Insert it through the key ring’s hole.
  10. Fold it back.
  11. Stick them together with hot glue or stitches.

If you want to see how it’s done, check out the clip below:

#3: DIY hanging potty bell

This is similar to the previous option.

But instead of 1 key ring, you’ll add 2 more.

Which is more similar to the hanging dog bells you can purchase in shops.

Plus, this is louder. So you can easily hear your dog’s signal once nature calls.

Thus, you may try this one if you have a larger area.

What you’ll need

  • Scissors.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Pen/pencil/chalk.
  • 9 pcs jingle bells – 1 in (25 mm).
  • 3 pcs key ring – 1.37 in (35 mm).
  • Old fabric belt/leash – 1 in (25 mm) wide.
  • Hot glue gun & stick (or thread & needle).

What to do?

  1. Get 1 of the fabric belt’s ends.
  2. Create a loop big enough for your doorknob.
  3. Flip the belt’s end before sticking them together. (Similar to an ID lanyard.)
  4. Use hot glue to secure the loop. (Or sew it by hand.)
  5. Let it cool down.
  6. Hang the loop on your door.
  7. Measure the distance from the knob to the lowest place you want the bells to fall.
  8. Add at least 6 in (15 cm) for allowance.
  9. Cut once you get your desired length.

Next, assemble the bells and key rings. Then attach them to the fabric belt:

  1. Put 3 jingle bells into each key ring.
  2. Get the distance between the loop and the end of the belt.
  3. Divide it into 3 sections.
  4. Mark it with a pencil or chalk.
  5. Get a finished key ring (with bells).
  6. Take the opposite end of the belt (not looped).
  7. Insert it through to the key ring’s hole.
  8. Place the key ring on the highest point you marked.
  9. Fold 1 in (25 mm) of the belt back.
  10. Stick them together with hot glue or stitches.
  11. Allow it to cool.
  12. Insert and set the 2nd key ring on the lower marked part.
  13. Repeat steps #18 to #20.
  14. Do the same for the last key ring.

Here’s a tutorial video to help you visualize the process and result:

Note: If you use jingle bells larger than 1 in (25 mm), you may only put 2 in every key ring.

#4: Scrunchie dog bell

Can’t find any hot glue and key rings?

I’ve got another option for you.

This is also a potty bell you can hang on your doorknob.

But it has a simpler and easier-to-make design.

Plus, you’ll find most of the materials at your home.

What you’ll need

  • Ribbon.
  • Scissors.
  • Measuring tape.
  • Fabric scrunchie.
  • Sewing needle & thread.
  • Ribbon – 1 in (25 mm) wide.
  • 6 pcs jingle bells – 1 in (25 mm).

What to do?

  1. Measure the length from the doorknob to your dog’s nose level.
  2. Double what you get. That’s how much ribbon you’ll cut (ex: 16 in x 2 = 32 in).
  3. Grab the fabric scrunchie.
  4. Insert the ribbon through it.
  5. Loop the ribbon in half. (If it has a pattern, it must be the exposed part on both sides.)
  6. Ensure both ends meet.
  7. Secure the scrunchie by sewing a jingle bell under it.
  8. Stitch another bell down. 2 in (50 mm) from the other end of the ribbon.
  9. Measure the distance between the 2 bells.
  10. Divide it into 5 sections.
  11. Mark it with chalk or pencil.
  12. Sew the remaining 4 bells on each mark.

Ensure to place the bells equally. So that it’ll look pleasing to the eye.

Note: If you have pinking shears at home, you can trim both ends of the ribbon. It’s a pair of scissors with zigzag edges. Do this to prevent their edges from being worn out.

#5: DIY mounted potty bell

Lastly, you might like this if you’re crafty.

It’s more challenging than the previous ones.

But this is perfect if you need a fixed dog bell with a louder chime.

What you’ll need

  • 1 pc key ring (any size).
  • 1 pc cow bell – 2 in (50 mm).
  • 1 pc wall hook (to hang the bell).
  • 1 pc wood plank – 3 in x 5 in (76 cm x 127 cm).
  • Acrylic enamel spray paint (your desired color).

You can find another hook design.

But ensure it provides enough space from the wall to the bell.

So that it won’t disrupt its movement.

What to do?

  1. Gather the materials.
  2. Paint the hook and wood plank.
  3. Allow them to dry.
  4. Attach the hook on top of the wood. 
  5. Put the key ring on the bell.
  6. Hang it on the hook.
  7. Attach a ring hanger on the back of the wood.

Install it beside the exit door you mostly use.

Set it at your dog’s nose height.

Note: You can also customize the wood plank. Like putting a label or your Fido’s name on it.