Train Your Dog to Ring a Bell When They Want to Go Outside!

Housebreaking a dog can be frustrating but it doesn’t have to be! Do you wish your dog could communicate with you when he or she wants to go outside?

If only your dog could talk! Learning to ring a bell to communicate with you is a great tool for any dog, young or old.

Even for the new dog owner with no experience training dogs, teaching a dog to ring a bell is easy.

A dog that is already housebroken can still be taught to ring a bell to go out. Train your dog on how to ring a bell in a very short time with these easy steps.


Choose a location that is central in the house so the bell can be heard from multiple rooms. Good places to hang the bell include a doorknob or banister railing.

Use rope, ribbon, a leash, or whatever you have on hand for your bell to hang from. Measure a length that is low to the ground but not sitting on the floor.

Make sure to select a bell that has a tone that you will be sure to hear. Tie the bell to the bottom of the length of the rope securely.

You do not want the bell to fall off when your dog rings it. A bell can also be a choking hazard to a child or pet so confirm that it is tied tightly.

Ensure that the bell will not get lodged against anything making it difficult for your dog to ring. Be sure that the area around the bell is clear so that your dog has easy access to the bell.

Getting started

When housetraining a new puppy, take the pup out and let them try to potty at least once every hour. If you wait too long between trips, your puppy may have accidents in the house. Each time you take the dog out, help the dog ring the bell as you go outside.

As the pup gets older, or if you are training an older dog, trips outside can be less frequent. Allow as much time outside as you feel is necessary to let your dog go to the bathroom.

You will soon get a sense of whether they need to go or not by watching them. You can carry your puppy outside or walk them on a leash.

Choose a location that works for you and take your dog to the same place each time to go potty. If you have an outdoor enclosure for your dog, you can just let them out into that area.

Be sure to watch and make sure they use the bathroom before bringing them back inside.

Different methods

Helping the dog ring the bell can be done in a few different ways. You can figure out what works best for you. If you are holding the puppy, gently bump their nose against the bell. Be very gentle but make sure the bell makes a sound.

Another method is to lift the dogs’ paw with your hand and bump their paw against the bell. This second way is easier for a larger dog since they might be too big to carry.

Another way is to walk the dog closely against the bell so that it makes a ringing sound. Any of these methods can be used, or even all of them together.

Make sure that the dog is the one ringing the bell, so they learn the action and the resulting sound. Take the dog out as soon as the bell is rung.

Be consistent

Make sure you have the puppy or older dog ring the bell every time you take them outside to potty. Consistency is the key to good and successful training. This will make training go faster and smoother. It is okay to switch up the way in which you help the dog ring the bell.

The important thing is that they do ring it each time and that you take them out immediately. Do not move the bell from where you originally place it, so the dog remembers where it is.

If your dog is starting to learn to ring the bell, continue to remind them to do so each time.

Training on a new skill should continue for a few weeks until you are sure your dog has learned it.

Pay attention

Listen to the sound of the bell, even when you are not in the same room as your dog. After a few days of training, your dog may start to pick up their new skill. Make sure you take them out if you hear the bell ring.

You might think that they were just playing near the bell and accidentally bumped it but take them out anyway. This will reinforce to them that the sound of the bell means going outside to potty. Your dog might lose interest in ringing the bell if they do not get taken out when they ring it.

Offer rewards

Dogs love treats and rewarding them with a treat is a great way to reinforce their newly learned skill. You can decide to give the dog a treat when they ring the bell, or after they have gone potty. Any treat will do. Some trainers prefer to use positive attention as a treat.

It is not necessary to discipline your dog for having a potty accident in the house. Just clean the accident area, and then take your dog to ring the bell and then outside. Keep rewarding them when they ring the bell and go outside to potty.

Fun fact

Once your dog has mastered this skill, they will ring the bell all the time. You will enjoy not having to guess if your dog wants to go out.

Training your dog to ring a bell will give you the confidence to tackle other training with your pup. Just seeing how easy training can be if enlightening.

You will be the envy of all your friends when they see how smart your dog is!

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