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No pet owner likes to have a pet that constantly needs cleaning up after because of frequent messes. Luckily, bunnies are one of the types of animals that is litter trained fairly easily. Litter training a bunny will be both a rewarding activity for you as the pet owner, and for the bunny that will only leave messes in one area of their cage or rabbit-proofed room.
To start litter training your bunny, take note of the area of his or her cage or rabbit-proof room that your bunny normally urinates and defecates in. Rabbits will normally choose one main area of their cage to use as a potty, so you can simply place a litter box in this area to get them on the right track towards being litter trained. Placing the litter box in an area that your rabbit is already using as an area to defecate and urinate will make the transition to the litter box easier.
You’ll need a small litter box filled with litter. There are a couple different types of litter that are safe to use for rabbits, so picking one will mostly be personal preference. Organic litters, paper litter, citrus-based litter or hay generally work well for rabbits. Choosing the right litter is important, as rabbits will spend a good deal of time in their litter boxes, and also tend to nibble on the litter. That’s why my first choice is always hay as rabbits love to have a quick meal as they use the litter box!
If your rabbit doesn’t naturally go towards the litter box in his or her preferred potty area, pick up some droppings from around the cage and place them in the litter box to guide your rabbit towards the box. Usually, rabbits will take the hint and start to use the litter box, preferring it to leaving droppings around their cage. Adult rabbits pick up on litter box training faster than young bunnies, so be sure to provide the right materials and encouragement to get a rabbit of any age to use a litter box.
Many rabbit owners will let their rabbits out of the cage daily for exercise, so once you have litter trained your rabbit inside of the cage, you’ll next work on getting your rabbit to only urinate and defecate in their litter box. This can be a difficult task because rabbits like to mark their territory by urinating and leaving droppings around a new area. If you see that your rabbit is about to urinate outside of the cage and litter box, gently pick your rabbit up and place him or her inside the cage until he or she has urinated. After a few times of correcting the behavior, you rabbit will hopefully understand not to urinate or defecate outside of the cage.
Another tip for litter training when your rabbit is outside of the cage is to be sure that your rabbit feels as though he or she owns the cage and doesn’t need to mark any other territory. This can be done by allowing your rabbit to go in and out of the cage without you reaching in to pick him or her up and disrupting the cage as little as possible. The hope is that in time, the rabbit will feel as if the cage is his or her territory and safe-haven, reducing the need for marking the territory.