3 Steps to Train Your Puppy to Ring Potty Bells



Imagine a world where your puppy always tells you when they have to go outside and they never have an accident.


Now read on to find out how to make this your reality!


Your puppy doesn't know you need them to potty outside until you teach them this skill. In order to teach our puppies where they should be going, we first have to establish some clear guidelines and communication. Most puppies give signals, like sniffing the ground and circling, before they go to the bathroom. These signals can be helpful but require you to constantly have eyes on your puppy.

As your little one matures and earns more freedom, it will be helpful to have an audible and reliable signal from your pup that they need to go outside! This is why I recommend teaching your puppy to ring a set of bells when they have to go potty. Training this behavior can be broken down into three, easy to follow steps. Grab your potty bells here!

potty bells for puppy potty training
Teach Your Puppy To Ring Potty Bells!

Step 1

Buy a set of bells that you will be able to easily hear when your dog rings them. Hang the bells at your dog’s level on the wall next to the main “potty door.” Before going outside, ring the bells yourself and say “Go Potty.” Take your puppy out on a leash to the same location every time. When your puppy does their business, repeat “Go Potty” and give them a treat. Repeat this process every time your puppy goes out for about one week.

Step 2

You will now begin luring your puppy to ring the bell themselves. Before taking your puppy out, show them a treat and slowly bring it next to the set of bells. When your puppy’s nose or paw touches the bells, say “Let's Go Potty Outside” and take them outside to their potty spot. Wait for your puppy to go and then repeat “Go Potty” and give them the treat. It is important to be rewarding your puppy for going to the bathroom outside. This is why the treat is only given after they have done their business! This process may last a week, give or take a few days depending on the puppy.

Step 3

Now that your puppy is physically ringing the bells, it is time to phase out the food lure. Just before taking your puppy outside, gesture to the bells with your empty hand instead of using a treat to draw their nose over. When your puppy rings the bells, say “Go Potty” and take them to their spot. After your puppy goes, repeat “Go Potty” and reward them with a treat.

Taking your puppy out on leash while working on potty training. This ensures that they will understand the bells mean “Go Potty” and not “go out and play.” If you take your puppy out on a leash and they do not go, confine them inside either on a leash or in their crate for 5 to 10 minutes and then repeat the bell training process. Remember to have patience with your puppy and yourself. As long as you stay consistent and fair, you and your puppy will get the hang of this in no time!

If you have any questions on bell training your puppy, go ahead and put the questions in the comments below. For more tips on potty training or other puppy training tips check out my YouTube channel!  Join our Puppy Training Group on Facebook.


Where will you be hanging your potty bells? Bonus points if you can share a pic of your potty bells and where you put them!

About the trainer 

Michele Lennon

After spending 20 years helping families with their dogs face to face as a professional dog trainer, Michele realized that so much of what she knows could be shared with families everywhere - in a way that actually works. People sometimes think their dog is just SUPER difficult because the advice they’ve gotten was incomplete, confusing or just wrong. So she set out to help. Michele loves training dogs because of the impact that it has on the families she gets to help.  The peace and joy they get from being able to enjoy their dog LISTENING. Besides teaching classes, helping private clients and running seminars, Michele is also a foodie and fantasizes about being a food critic or secret shopper for restaurants.  Talk to her about food and your instant best friends.

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  1. Just picked up my 12 week old cocker and she is peeing in the crate. It is a small crate large enough fir her to stretch out to sleep but not much more. Even after 3 hours and waking her up. She did that after a few minutes of being in the crate. I have never had a pup that is ok with peeing in her crate and won’t go outside. Any ideas?

    1. Congrats on your new puppy! I know how frustrating potty training a puppy can be. Most pups her age can only hold it 1 hour for each month of age, sometimes even less than that. I would check out my potty training lesson and grab the sample puppy schedule that goes along with it. This will help keep you and your pup on a consistent schedule as well as teach you the best techniques to potty train your pup super fast. Remember your puppy is growing and maturing at a very rapid rate during her first year of life. Her brain and body are still trying to sync up and this can lead to a few accidents. Here’s the link to the potty training lesson and resources: https://howtotrainadreamdog.com/potty-training

  2. My puppy is five months old and we trained her with a potty bell. She trained quickly and all was well… until she figured out ringing the bell gets her outside to run and play. She now rings the bells 15 times a day. I tried ignoring her when I was certain she had been out a few minutes prior and taken care of business; she then stopped using the bell and just peed in the house. So we started over with potty training, I am completely frustrated, I give her a few minutes if she doesn’t go, I bring her back in with no play time but she doesn’t give up she continues to ring the bell over and over. I am at my wits end and completely at a loss as to how to change her behavior.

    1. I pick the bells up for a while and put them back down about the time I need to take a pup out. When you go outside, make it boring, no playtime, just potty time.

  3. We have the bells and are planning to use them, but I realized they’re on a door that we use to go out throughout the day, which will ring them. How do we use the bells for potty on a frequently used door? Thanks!

    1. Hello,

      Inside the free New Puppy Starter Kit, there is a bell training lesson. The lesson contains several training tips and one of the tips is not to put the bells on the door but on a hook next to the door. We don’t want pup to hear the bells every time the door opens and closes as this will make the bells lose their meaning. Here’s the link to grab the video lesson and several other puppy training lessons from the New Puppy Starter Kit: https://howtotrainadreamdog.com/new-puppy-starter-kit/

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