There’s an easy way your dog can tell you it’s time to go outside: Use a dog doorbell.
These are bells or buttons that you place by the door and you teach your dog to ring them when they need to go potty. With a few tries and lots of treats, your dog can learn that ringing the bell means a human opens the door.
“Dogs of all ages can learn to use a doorbell to go outside,” says Steffi Trott, head trainer and founder at SpiritDog Training. “Although using a doorbell for your dog is a really great tool, we should only be relying on it once the dog is fully potty trained and understands that pottying only happens outside.”
With young dogs and dogs that are new to potty training, supervision is still important, she says. “This way, we can catch the early signs that they need to go potty.”
In our search for the best dog doorbells, we considered how they sound, materials, and ease of installation. Our favorite is Caldwell’s Potty Bells, which has a durable nylon strap, comes in eight colors, and easily attaches to either knobs or handles. It’s adjustable and features six bells. But there are alternatives to the pleasingly tactile jingle bells that may work even better in your home.
Caldwell’s Pet Supply Co. Potty Bell
Attaches to knobs or levers
Adjustable by a few inches
Not very loud
This simple rugged nylon strap has six jingle-type bells firmly attached in two groups. The strap attaches over a door knob or lever-type handle with a simple snap closure. It even works with many sliding glass doors. It can be adjusted a few inches to hang lower or higher depending on the size of your dog. You want it a comfortable height so your pup can easily push it with their nose when it’s time to go out.
Caldwell’s Potty Bells Original Dog Doorbell comes in eight different colors including both muted choices like black, brown, and gray, as well as bright blue, yellow, and red. Each strap is decorated with shiny bells—three at the bottom and three in the middle. The black and gray versions also come in two packs so you can hang one on each side of a door or on two different doors.
The nylon is durable enough to withstand a little gnawing from an impatient dog. The six jingling bells make a distinctive and recognizable sound, but larger households may want to look for something a little louder, since Caldwell’s Potty Bells may not be audible when you get too far from the door.
Price at Time of Publish: $13
Dimensions: 26 x 1 inches | Materials: Nylon | Sound: Jingle bells
Mighty Paw Smart Bell 2.0
Four volumes and 38 tones
Light press to activate
Easy to mount (no batteries or wires)
More expensive than most
Setting the Mighty Paw Smart Bell 2.0 is like choosing a ringtone for your phone. This wireless smart bell offers 38 different sounds and four volumes for your pup’s call to go outside. It’s easy to mount thanks to a 3M adhesive strip on the back. There are no batteries or cables needed—the receiver (which works as far as 1,000 feet away) plugs into a standard outlet like a plugin air freshener.
The bell requires just a slight amount of pressure—.75 pounds—and a dog can easily boop it with their nose. The Mighty Paw is also water resistant, so it can also be installed outside. It comes as a solo bell or in a pack of two, so you can mount them on both the front and back door or inside and outside.
Price at Time of Publish: $35
Dimensions: 4.5 x 3 x 3.5 inches | Materials: Plastic | Sound: 30 tones
Best Colors and Patterns
PoochieBells Dog Training Doorbell
24 colors and designs
Made in the U.S.
Fits most door handles
Ribbon isn’t very sturdy
There’s a design, pattern, or color to fit any home with this training aid from PoochieBells. There are about two dozen versions, all made from grosgrain ribbon with a strap that hangs about 26 inches from the door knob. The end is a loop that hangs over the handle.
Each strap contains four bells in two sets of two. PoochieBells are made in the U.S. with reinforced nylon and lead-free bells. The company says users report a 95% success rate with dogs learning to use the bells. In addition to lots of colors, the strap is available with sayings like “Home is where the dog is” and “All you need is love and a dog.”
Price at Time of Publish: $17
Dimensions: 26 x 1 inches | Materials: Nylon | Sound: Jingle bells
Bean Daikon Macrame Dog Training Bells
What We Like
Not very loud
This macrame creation personalizes your pup’s potty breaks. Handmade from cotton cord, it’s available in light green or a deep golden color with randomly colored bells attached. You can opt to have it plain or choose a personalized wooden tag engraved with your dog’s name.
There are several styles including straight or twisted and you can choose to either have the bells just on the bottom or woven throughout the whole cord. The bells come in random colors and have a very gentle (maybe too quiet) sound. It hangs a little longer than some styles—approximately 30 inches from the handle.
Price at Time of Publish: $33
Dimensions: 37 inches (30 inches from door handle) | Materials: Cotton and metal | Sound: Jingle bells
Jolie People Sleigh Bells Door Chimes
Easy slip-on ring for door handles
Might be too high for very small dogs
These handsome bells look like they might have come via the North Pole. They are handmade of leather and feature six nickel-plated sleigh bells. There’s a large 2.5-inch ring at the end that you can hang over most door knobs or handles.
The leather is available in chocolate, black, or brown. It’s thick and comes with or without decorative leather embellishments. The bells are bigger than many other dog doorbells for a louder sound. Plus, the strap on the JoliePeople Sleigh Bells stays flat so the bells never scratch the door.
Price at Time of Publish: $18
Dimensions: 14.5 x 1.25 inches (Overall length: 17 inches) | Materials: Leather, nickel-plate | Sound: Sleigh bells
Learning Resources Recordable Answer Buzzers
Four buttons in a set
Easy to record, erase, and re-record
Batteries not included
No pad or sticky side to keep them in place
These colorful talking buttons let you record whatever message or sound you want. You can say “potty!” or “outside!” or record a whistle or come up with a unique sound that signifies that your pet needs to go outside pronto. The buttons require your pup to learn to tap it firmly or swipe it with a paw.
The buttons require 2 AAA batteries that aren’t included. They don’t have a foam pad or a sticky back to hold them in place, so you’ll have to come up with your own method to keep them from moving. They’re relatively affordable and it’s easy to record (and erase and re-record) a message.
Price at Time of Publish: $14
Dimensions: 1.9 x 7.6 x 7.7 inches | Materials: Plastic | Sound: Custom
The best dog doorbells are the Caldwell’s Potty Bells. The durable nylon strap comes in eight colors and easily attaches with a strap to door knobs or handles. It’s adjustable and features six jingle-type bells. For an electronic alternative, consider the Mighty Paw Smart Bell 2.0. It has 38 tones and four volumes and is easy to mount with no batteries or wires.
What to Look for in a Dog Doorbell
Many doorbells come on a strip of fabric or leather. There’s no installation involved; just slip the end loop or hook over the door handle. Others require sticking a button near the door with a remote receiver plugged into a nearby outlet.
Make sure the bells hang at a height that is comfortable for your dog to reach. They should be able to nudge them with their nose—so hang them about nose tall. If your dog prefers batting them or pawing at them, they can hang even lower. Some have adjustable straps.
Many hanging bells are attached to a nylon, ribbon, or leather strap. Others are buttons that are made of plastic. Some straps are more durable than others, which is particularly important if your dog is very excited or a chewer.
“If you have a pup that tends to be a big tugger and chewer of toys, then having a more ‘boring’ doorbell might be a good idea to decrease the potential of the doorbell resembling a big tug toy!” Trott told The Spruce Pets. “In this case, a thin nylon cord might be less enticing for the dog.”
The bells need to be loud enough that you can hear them when your dog rings. It can help to have a few bells together because that creates a more noticeable sound. “However, if your dog is a bit noise sensitive, using one with a single bell can be helpful to decrease the noise level,” Trott says.
Do dog doorbells work?
Absolutely, says Trott. “I think dog doorbells can be a great option for many. It allows the dog to communicate their needs to go outside in an appropriate manner.”
How do you train a dog to use a doggie doorbell?
Start by having tasty treats in one hand and hold the bells in the other hand, says Trott.
“Give your dog a treat for any type of interaction they do with the bells. If at first they simply look at the bells, reward with a treat,” she says. After a few rewards, wait for a little bit more interaction with the bells. Such as walking towards it, sniffing it or pawing at it.”
Once your dog regularly interacts with the bells, place them at the door. Do the same thing as before where you treat your pup for touching, sniffing, or looking at them.
“At this point, you can start incorporating it into your potty outing,” Trott says. “Before opening the door, encourage your dog to interact with the bells and then follow with praise and/or treat and a trip to the yard. Over time, the dog will start learning that by interacting with the doorbell, they get to go outside in the yard.”
What sounds can dogs hear?
Dogs have incredible hearing, particularly compared to humans. They can hear both higher-pitched and softer sounds than we can. The average adult person can’t hear noises above 20,000 hertz (Hz), whereas dogs can hear sounds in the 45,000 Hz range. Dogs can also hear sounds that are not loud enough for human ears.
What do you do if your pup keeps ringing the bells and they don’t need to potty?
Once a dog realizes they can ring the bell to go outside, they might ring it when they want to go chase a squirrel or hang out in the yard. In the beginning, make sure that every time your dog rings the bell, you let them outside. But then only let them out when you know they might need to go potty.
“For example, if you have just let your dog out and you know they have done their business, if they go back to the doorbell shortly after coming inside, I would just tell them ‘later,’” says Trott. “This way, we acknowledge that they are ringing the doorbell, but we don’t always have to let them out.”
Why Trust The Spruce
For this roundup, we talked to dog owners, fosters, and trainers. We also read through hundreds of reviews to find the best dog doorbells. We evaluated them based on materials, height, installation, and the sound they make.
This article was written by Mary Jo DiLonardo, who often reviews dog products for Spruce Pets. The proud mom of a rescue dog, she has fostered around 60 dogs and puppies. When potty training them, she often uses doorbells to help them communicate when they need to go outside. For more than 25 years, Mary Jo has covered a wide range of topics focused on nature, pets, science, and anything that helps make the world a better place.