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Who Really Uses Potty Bells For Their Dogs?

Who Really Uses Potty Bells for Dogs?

I do – because potty bells for dogs are not just a fun training tool, I also like their jingles!

If you’re still on the fence of whether or not you should potty bells for your dog, keep reading.

The concept of potty bells is simple: You train your dog to ring a set of bells that you hang by the door whenever they need to go out to do their business.

The main benefit is that there won’t be any more “scratch, scratch, scratch” sounds at your door, and also no whining.

Potty Bells For Dogs

Do potty bells work for dogs?

Disclaimer: This blog post was originally published in 2016 and has been updated in 2023. It contains affiliate links I may earn compensation through at no additional cost to you. 

The ones we currently use are Caldwells Potty Bells. They come with a loop that makes it easy to hang them from a door knob or handle.

But honestly, any potty bells work, and you can even DIY your own. I’ll share instructions on how to do that towards the end of this blog post.

K9sOverCoffee Worked With Caldwell's Pet Supply And Their Potty Bells

Where Do You Put A Potty Bell?

But first, let’s talk about where to best put your potty bells.

Because regardless of which type of potty bell you end up going with, you’ll first have to set them up.

It’s important to hang or install them in a location that’s easily accessible to your furry friend.

At the same time, it needs to be convenient for you to hear and respond to when they use it.

Now, here’s a step-by-step guide on where to put a potty bell for dogs:

Choose the door

Select the door that you typically use to take your dog outside for potty breaks.

For me, that’s actually both the front door AND the back door, so I put up potty bells on both.

Hang the bells

Hang the potty bells on or near the chosen door handle or knob.

You can also use a small hook, adhesive strip, or any other secure hanging method.

Make sure the bells are low enough for your dog to reach, especially if you have a small or toy breed.

Bell height

Ideally, the potty bells should hang at about your dog’s nose level or slightly lower.

This way, they can easily nudge or ring the bells with their nose or paw.

How To Train Dog To Ring Bell For Potty

Next, let’s look at how to train your dog to ring the potty bells.

  1. Introduce the bells: Allow your dog to sniff and investigate the bells to familiarize themselves with the new object. You can also smear a little peanut butter on there, or place some treats on them. That’s what I personally did when I introduced the bells to my girl Missy.
  2. Associate the bells with going outside: Before taking your dog out, ring the bells yourself to get their attention. Then, open the door and let your dog outside to do their business.
  3. Reinforce the behavior: Whenever your dog rings the bells on their own, praise them and immediately take them outside. This positive reinforcement will help them associate the action of ringing the bells with going outside.
  4. Consistency is key: Be consistent with your potty bell training. Always use the bells when you’re taking your dog outside and encourage them to use the bells on their own by repeating the process.
  5. Avoid negative reinforcement: Never scold your dog for ringing the bells, even if they don’t need to go out. Scolding may discourage them from using the bells to communicate in the future.
YouTube video of Missy using her Potty Bells

Which Dogs Are Potty Bells Good For?

Potty bells can be particularly useful for housebreaking puppies or newly adopted dogs that are not yet familiar with their new environment.

They provide a clear and effective way for dogs to communicate their needs, which reduces accidents inside the house and strengthens the bond between you and your pup.

Now, many dogs pick up the concept of potty bells quickly, but it takes some a bit longer to learn.

If your pup is a slower learner, be patient and consistent in your training process. They’ll get it eventually!

Also, make sure that the potty bells are placed safely and securely to prevent your dog from playing with them as a toy.

How To DIY Dog Bells For Potty Training

As promised, here’s an easy way to make your own potty bells.

You’ll be using materials that are easy to source – either from a Walmart, Hobby Lobby or Amazon. If you’re crafty, you may already have everything you need for this project!

Materials you’ll need:

  1. Scissors
  2. Jingle bells
  3. Fabric or ribbon
  4. Optional: Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Cut the fabric or ribbon: Measure and cut the fabric or ribbon to the desired length. It should be long enough to reach your dog’s nose when hanging from the doorknob.
  2. Attach the bells: Take the jingle bells and arrange them along the length of the fabric or ribbon, evenly spaced. Use the hot glue gun to attach each bell securely to the fabric/ribbon.
  3. Create a loop: At one end of the fabric or ribbon, form a loop and glue it in place. This loop will be used to hang the potty bells from the doorknob.

If you don’t want to use a hot glue gun, loop the bells onto multiple strings, cut a few holes into the ribbon and loop the respective string through each hole.

Tie a handle into the ribbon to be able to hang it from your door knob.

It’ll look less pretty but it’s the cheaper option!

Potty Bells For Dogs: Bottom Line

Potty bells are a fun way for your dog to let you know when they need to go outside.

Most dogs seem to quickly make the connection between ringing the bell and getting rewarded.

I used freeze-dried lamb treats when we were practicing on the front door, and dehydrated pork heart treats on the back door.

There was no particular reason why I chose those treats other than they were handy at the time of practicing and Missy loves both.

Remember to be patient and not to rush your pup when you’re introducing them to the bells.

Has your pup been introduced to Potty Bells or a DIY version of them? As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section below!

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.


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4 responses to “Who Really Uses Potty Bells for Dogs?”

  1. MyDogLikes Avatar

    We may have to give one of these a try. While we usually notice when Charlie has headed to the back door to be let out, every once in a while we stumble upon him sitting there patiently waiting! He doesn’t make a peep!! I’m sure he could get the hang of one of these potty bells in no time at all.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      That’s exactly how Missy would behave when she needed to go outside – sit by the door and wait without making a peep. Her brother Buzz would bark to let me know he had to go out. I really like the classic model of the Potty Bells, too. I think it’s super charming. It’s the one shown in video #2, with Blue the red Viszla.

  2. Jan K, Wag N Woof Pets Avatar
    Jan K, Wag N Woof Pets

    We have these! Ours our white but they are still very pretty. I haven’t spent too much time working with Luke on them yet, but I just have him touch them when he is at the door sometimes. I figured eventually he’d catch on, but I was wrong, I think he’s holding out for the treats to learn this one! It’s just been hard to work on it because it’s so darn cold outside I don’t want to keep opening the door! I think he’ll get it pretty quickly once we really work on it though, and then I’d love to get another set for our other door.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Yay for white ones, I can see myself liking those as well 🙂 Missy is just like Luke (I’m thinking about the roll over trick.. haha) – she definitely needed the treat motivation for the bells.

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