Using a Dog Doorbell for Potty Training Your Dog

Dog Potty Training Doorbell

Teaching Your Dog How To Tell You When They Need to Go Outside

Maya was really bad about letting me know when she needs to go outside. It is not a problem most of the time since I let her out regularly. However, there have been a few times when she really needed to go but she didn’t know how to let me know. So I’ve started training her to use a bell.

If I let Maya out regularly, why would she need to know how to tell me when she needs to go out? There have been two fairly recent incidents as to why. This past summer, Maya played in the sprinkler. After I let her inside, I didn’t think about all the water she had just drunk. As a result, she decided she had to go so badly that she couldn’t wait for me to let her out at her regularly scheduled time. Another incident was when I forgot to let her out before bed time. As a result, she had to go in the middle of the night. Since I was asleep and since she didn’t know how to tell me she needed to go, she went on the floor.

So teaching Maya to use a dog doorbell has begun. I’ve read a lot about it and here is how I am doing it:

First, get a dog doorbell. Maya’s bell is a ping-pong sized jingle bell that is hangs from a ribbon by the door. The jingle bell hangs right at her nose reach. I made one and it is ugly, but it works. You can get a nice dog doorbell like the one in the above photo on Amazon. Then there is the cute one below, also from Amazon.

Ethical Gotta Go Dog Potty Training Doorbell

Next, I teach her to ring the bell. Maya knows the word ‘outside’ and gets excited every time I say it. So to train her to ring the bell I say outside, get her excited about it, then direct her to the bell hanging by the door. It is fairly easy to get her to touch the bell with her nose. When she does, I tell her she is a good girl and I reward her by letting her outside.

If your dog doesn’t engage with the bell as easily as Maya did, use a treat to guide your dog’s nose to the bell. And if your dog doesn’t already know the word for going outside, you can teach your dog this word at the same time as you teach them to ring the bell.

As of yet, Maya has not learned to ring the bell when she wants to go outside off-schedule. She still goes out regularly so she really hasn’t had the opportunity. But someday, I hope she uses the dog doorbell when she really needs to let me know she’s got to go.

What does your dog do to let you know they want to go outside?

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11 Responses to “Using a Dog Doorbell for Potty Training Your Dog”

  1. Roxy (@RoxyTrvlingDog) Says:

    That seems like a pretty good idea.

  2. Long Life Cats and Dogs Says:

    The doorbell is a great idea. Litchi scratches at the door, once and then stands there, for as long as it might take for it to open. If you don’t hear that first scratch, she’ll stand there for hours 🙂

  3. peggyspetplace Says:

    The bells are a great idea. When Kelly has to go out she just lies down by the door. She doesn’t bark or make any noise, so it’s challenging to know when she’s there. Luckily the house is small and if I don’t see her around, I go look by the back door!

  4. Wag The Dog UK Says:

    That’s amazing and what great idea. Maggie has been trained in apartment buildings so she knows how to warn me, but sometimes I don’t see her staring at the door (that is what she does). However if she had a bell that would be awesome. So I am going to give it a try after we move. Thanks for sharing this excellent tip.

  5. FleaByte Says:

    Oh my dog! What a great idea! Mine will stare at me, then at the dog. Next the chin goes into my lap. Last resorts are whining and barking at the door, which almost always work. I like the bell idea much better!

    • Dawn Says:

      Maya sometimes will put her head in my lap too but I can’t always tell if it is because she wants to potty, wants petted, or wants to play. She never ever whines to go out. Pierson is better at communicating. He will come look at me and when I get up, he leads me to the door.

  6. Jen@MyBrownNewfies Says:

    Thanks for the tips! We just got some bells for the door and I was wondering how I was going to teach them to ring it!

  7. mollieandalfie Says:

    That’s a great idea. Mollie just pops her head through the cat flap, so we hear that and open the door for her xx0xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  8. Taryn Says:

    That wouldn’t work for my dogs. They’d be ringing the bell for every squirrel/bunny/deer that ran through the back yard!

    Mine go out on a pretty regular schedule so they don’t tend to ask, just wait for the set time. However, when diarrhea strikes, Jimmy does an urgent nose poke and runs for the door. Wilsonstares you in the face and pants!

    • Dawn Says:

      I was a bit worried about the constant doorbell ringing too so I didn’t teach it to Pierson. Maya would much rather be inside while Pierson is always wanting to go out and make mischief.

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