Dog Keeps Ringing The Bell to Go Outside? Stop the Madness!

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Do you find yourself constantly being serenaded by the sweet jingling of a bell, signaling that your furry companion wants to go outside for some fresh air and adventure?

There are many reasons why your dog keeps ringing the bell to go outside, and understanding the reasons behind this action can not only help you to better communicate with your dog but also improve their overall behavior.

In this post, we’ll look more closely at the potential causes of your dog ringing the doorbell to go outdoors as well as what you can do to successfully handle their cues.

Medical Questions? Talk to a Veterinarian 24/7.
Connect one-on-one with a licensed vet who will answer your questions in minutes.

Ask a Vet Now or Schedule a home visit

*Article may contain affiliate links to retailers like Amazon and Chewy. Learn more on our disclosure page.

Dear Dog Owner

Why Train Your Dog to Use a Doorbell for Potty?

Why Train Your Dog to Use a Doorbell for Potty?

Training your dog to use a doorbell to signal that they need to go outside to potty can have several benefits.

First of all, it improves the way your dog expresses their requirements, which may lead to fewer accidents in the house.

This can be especially helpful for senior dogs who may have trouble controlling their bladder for extended periods of time or for dogs who are prone to accidents.

Secondly, it can be a great way to boost your relationship with your dog and your communication abilities.

By doing so, you get to improve the amount of trust and understanding between the two of you by teaching a certain desired behavior.

Thirdly, using positive reinforcement methods in your dog’s training can be entertaining and engaging.

You can provide your dog with a fun and motivating experience by rewarding them for ringing the bell.

Last but not least, it enhances mental stimulation for your dog.

Training it to ring the bell requires problem-solving, which can be beneficial for your dog’s cognitive development.

Do you know what to do if your dog doesn’t pee while traveling?

How Do You Know if Your Dog is Abusing Her Potty Bell?

Dogs are smart enough to convey their needs with bell training, but it’s important to watch out for bell abuse too.

Here are some telltale signs that your dog may be abusing their potty bell:

Ringing the bell excessively or at inappropriate times

As you may find it impossible to predict when your dog genuinely needs to go outside, this behavior can be irritating and difficult to manage.

If your dog rings the bell repeatedly, that may indicate that they are doing so more for attention than for a bathroom break.

Boredom, anxiety, or a desire for interaction might all be possible reasons for this behavior, and they might have discovered that ringing the bell attracts attention, leading them to ring it more frequently.

Do you know why dogs stare at the floor?

Ringing the bell shortly after going outside

This behavior may suggest that your dog needs more frequent walks or that they are not completely housebroken.

Is this a case of your dog being unable to hold its urine for extended lengths of time?

This can mean a potential health problem, like a urinary tract infection, or it might tell you that your dog isn’t receiving enough bathroom breaks during the day.

In this case, it’s critical to speak with a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions and to modify the number of bathroom breaks as necessary.

You should also continue with house training and positive reinforcement techniques to help your dog learn to hold their urine for longer periods of time.

Hey there, sorry to interrupt but I wanted to tell you about an online vet service I’ve been using for years.

An in-person visit with one is great, but it’s not always an option.

Now, thanks to technology, you can speak to one without leaving your home.

Remote access
Avoidance of travel
Reduced stress for pets
Immediate access to experts
Quick response time
Schedule appointments easily

Got something to ask a vet?
Talk to one anytime, 24/7.


* Don’t use this service for emergencies.

Alternatively, a vet can come out to you instead (exclusive to our readers: use THEVETS15 for 15% off).


Thank you. The rest of the article continues below.

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: My dog wants to stay inside all the time!

Ringing the bell when they don’t need to use the restroom

Dogs are really smart animals that understand that specific behaviors lead to certain actions from you.

Your dog may start ringing the bell more regularly even if they don’t truly need to go outside if they have learned that doing so gets them taken outside.

The sneaky fella now knows that it can get outdoors to play just by using the bell!

Keep your dog’s schedule regular, including times for food, toilet breaks, and playtime.

They will be better able to distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate situations as a result.

Ringing the bell when you’re busy

If your dog rings the bell while you’re engaged in other activities, it may be a sign that they need more interaction or stimulation from you and are attempting to catch your attention.

This may be the case if you are working or otherwise preoccupied when your dog wants to play.

After all, dogs are social creatures, and they long for human companionship and attention.

Do you know how long can a Dachshund hold its bladder?

What Are Some Mistakes to Avoid With Bell Training?

Mistakes to Avoid With Bell Training

Yes, it’s true.

Dogs can learn to convey their needs by using bells, but for the training to be successful, it’s vital to avoid several common blunders.

  • Lack of consistency: Any kind of training requires consistency, so it’s important to make sure that you always react the same way when your dog rings the bell
  • Not rewarding the appropriate behavior: One useful trick is to reward your dog when they ring the doorbell to let you know they need to go outdoors, but you should not do so if they ring the bell for other reasons, like for attention or boredom
  • Not addressing problem behavior: Assuming that you have recognized that the behavior is problematic, you need to nip it in the bud in order to make the training process easier for both you and your dog
  • Not paying attention to your dog’s body language: Dogs have a number of ways to express their wants through body language, vocalizations, and behavior. Even if your dog hasn’t rung the bell, you may learn to determine when they need to go outdoors, which reduces false alarms
  • Not being patient: This is a must no matter what aspect of dog training you are dealing with. When you get frustrated, your dog can pick up your body language too, and start developing fear and resistance to training

Doggy says, you might be keen to read this too: Why Do Cocker Spaniels HOWL? [Separate Fact From Fiction]

Dog Bell Training: Teach a Dog to Ring Bell to Go Outside

Dogs can convey their needs in a fun and effective way by learning to ring a bell when they need to go outside.

Here’s a how-to manual for teaching your dog to ring a bell to signal when it’s time to go outside:

  1. Start off by hanging a bell near your door, where your dog can easily reach it
  2. Whenever you want to take your dog outside to go potty, ring the bell yourself before opening the door
  3. Next, start encouraging your dog to ring the bell on its own by gently putting its nose to it or by holding its paw to ring it
  4. Once your dog learns to ring the bell on their own, start rewarding them with treats and opening the door whenever they do so. This is to help them associate ringing the bell with leaving the house for potty
  5. Start phasing out the rewards as your dog becomes more adept at ringing the bell, and only open the door once your dog does so
  6. Most importantly, the time spent outside must only be for potty and nothing else. If you allow your dog to spend time playing, this will lead to an undesirable outcome for you

Is Bell Training Good for Dogs?

As they say, there are always two sides to a coin.

Although there are many benefits to bell training your dog, what are the potential drawbacks?

Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons.


  • Improved communication: Bell training enables dogs to express their requirements clearly and concisely, which can enhance the bond between the dog and owner
  • Increased independence: Training with a bell can help dogs become more independent and be more in charge of when they go outdoors, which can enhance their general wellbeing
  • Potty Training: As it enables your dog to indicate when they need to go outside, bell training can be an excellent technique for housebreaking a dog and help to avoid accidents inside your home


  • Not suitable for all dogs: Each dog is different from the next as they have different personalities and learning preferences. When a dog has to go outside, some may have a natural tendency to ring a bell, while others may not care at all
  • Excessive ringing: If training is not done properly, it may result in inappropriate and excessive ringing, which is sure to annoy any dog owner!
  • Training may not be successful: Even after making an effort to train the dog, it’s possible that your dog might not pick up the habit, therefore it’s crucial to be patient and keep trying
dog essentials banner in content

What can you do instead?

If bell training is not up your alley or it doesn’t work for you, there are alternatives to consider:

  • Clicker training
  • Hand signals
  • Verbal cues
  • Potty pads

Whichever method you choose, you must remember that positive reinforcement is the best way to train a dog.

Never ever scold your dog out of frustration!

That leaves a negative mark which may take a long time to fix.

Recommended Door Bells for Dogs

In Conclusion: Dog Keeps Ringing The Bell to Go Outside?

Bell training is a great method to incorporate but as with everything else, it sometimes requires a bit of trial and error. Not every dog takes to it, so be patient and observant of the cues your dog is giving you.

If it does not work out for you, there are always other methods to employ.

Check out other articles such as why does my dog sleep with his butt towards me, how to fix east west feet in dogs, dog peeing in house after boarding, and many more in the dog behavior section!

Share this post!
Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Canine Care Central!

no more bad dog breaths banner