If you’re tired of cleaning up after messes that your rabbit makes around the house, there is good news. Rabbits are actually easy to litter train because of their innate preference to leave droppings in the same place. Make the most of this natural habit by learning how to litter train your rabbit and avoid unwanted messes around the house. In just a few steps, you can litter train a rabbit easily:
- Choose a litter that works well for rabbits. Do not use clay or clumping varieties that are made for cats, as these can be harmful to rabbits. Also avoid pine and cedar varieties. The ideal type of litter is an organic or paper-based litter that is absorbent and safe. Brands like Yesterday’s News , Gentle Touch and Critter Country make great litter for rabbits. Use a cat litter tray or box, depending on the size of your rabbit and your personal preference
- Patience and persistence in the early stages is key. First, put the litter tray into your rabbit’s cage if it will fit. If your rabbit uses the litter tray right away, great! If not, watch where in the cage your rabbit uses as a toilet, and move the litter tray to that area. Keep this up until you notice that your rabbit is using the litter tray consistently
- Limit the freedom your rabbit has to roam. After your rabbit has mastered using the litter tray in it’s cage, allow it freedom in one room of your house. For your own convenience, try to pick a room like a kitchen or bathroom with tiled floor to make cleaning up any accidents more bearable. Entice your rabbit into using the litter box by putting a treat or toy in the box. Also, if you notice your rabbit is about to do its business on the floor, either herd it towards the litter tray, or pick it up gently and place it in the tray. Give praise and treats if your rabbit urinates or defecates in the tray
- No punishment is good punishment when training. Unlike dogs and cats, rabbits can’t make a connection between action and punishment. Punishing your rabbit for having an accident outside of the litter tray will only set back progress you have made. Instead, keep guiding your rabbit towards the litter tray when you think it’s going to urinate or defecate, and make sure to reward good behavior
- Practice makes perfect when litter training. Keep your rabbit in a small area until they become accustomed to doing all of their business in the litter tray. Gentle corrections and rewards for using the litter tray will help this process go smoothly and quickly. Once your rabbit is trained in a small area, gradually expand their roaming area. At first, two or three litter trays might be needed until you find out where your rabbit will be used to going when they are out of their cage
Working with your rabbit to litter train can be a great bonding experience. Your rabbit will have the freedom to roam outside of their cage, and you’ll have the peace of mind that accidents will be few and far between.