How to Litter Train a Rabbit
All across the world, rabbits are quite popular pets and make affectionate, sweet companions. They are up there on the list of favorites, with cats and dogs and other small animals, and boast an arsenal of great traits all of their own. And not at all surprisingly – rabbits too can be litter trained and live mess-free with you in your home. That’s because, contrary to popular belief, rabbits are quite intelligent and obedient and respond well to training. Of course, it takes a bit of practice and patience before your bunny will finally take a hold of the whole “potty” concept. But, still, if you follow a few set rules and stay true to the course, you will litter train your rabbit in no time. Here are 4 tips that will make the whole process run smoothly – and ensure you successfully potty train your bunny.
#1 Spaying/Neutering Makes a Huge Difference
Before the actual litter training begins, you need to consider that spayed or neutered rabbits are much easier to litter train than “intact” rabbits. The latter bunnies are difficult to properly train, and getting them fixed can make all the difference. When their hormones come into play, they can often mark their territory by spraying urine all over the place. Spaying and neutering is a routine procedure that will make your bunnies much happier – and healthier! And, most importantly, this will make them much more inclined to use the litter box as trained.
#2 Pick the Right Litter Box and Litter
Choosing the right litter box is not all that difficult when you know what to look for. Keep in mind that it will most certainly be different than a kitty litter box for example. Rabbits have different tendencies, and you might see them in their litter box often and for longer periods. You can also place their food bowl and other goodies nearby – this will enhance the sense of safety and security. Luckily, there are plenty of rabbit litter boxes that are designed specifically for bunny’s preferences you can find in most pet stores.
Another important thing to consider is that rabbits will often nibble on the actual litter. That is why you need to prepare organic material: hay, wheat grass, oat, pellets, sawdust, or paper. Check out your pet store – there are many options for rabbit-friendly litter.
#3 Location Is Key
Rabbits have a natural tendency to relieve themselves in certain spots and corners of their choosing. They are not the animals that will just “do their business” wherever. And when litter training is considered, this is the perfect starting point! One of the major aspects of this behavior is the feeling of safety and security. Rabbits are known to poop only in certain nooks and corners where they know they won’t be disturbed or in danger. They love their privacy, after all! And it is up to you to place the litter in a safe and comfy nook where no one will disturb your bunny while they do their thing.
If you already spot them peeing or pooping into one of the corners, place the litter box there – easy peasy. Of course, if it just so happens that they miss on their first try and use another corner, just keep moving the litter box – one of the spots is bound to be right. What is more, if you see that your bunny has trouble learning the whole process (after a few days), you can always add another litter box or even a few! Place them into different corners until one of them becomes the “go-to” place.
In case you and your pet are successful on the first try, and the enclosure litter box becomes the place they use, you can start letting them run about the house without worrying about accidents. If the process went well, they should follow their instinct and return to the enclosure and the litter box when nature calls. However, if you spot them getting ready to “do the business” anywhere else, use a commanding tone of voice to stop them and to usher them towards the litter box as a gentle reminder. Still, if it happens that they poop somewhere else while you are not looking, just place the poop into the litter box – this is a great reminder.
#4 More Is More
Keep in mind that you are not limited to a single litter box. To help your bunny understand, you can place several boxes in and out of the rabbit enclosure. They’ll probably use multiple litter boxes at first and then gravitate towards a single one that suits their preferences the most, which is when you can safely remove the others without having to worry about your bunny doing their business all over the place.
In no time, you will see how easy and straightforward this process can be – especially with spayed and neutered rabbits. They often choose just one place for their needs, and you just follow and put the litter there. Quick and easy.
When rabbits are spayed or neutered, the process of litter training them can be surprisingly successful. Once you pick out the right type of litter and a proper litter box for bunnies, you can start with setting it up in their enclosure or the place you’ve noticed they usually go potty – alternatively, you can place multiple ones around the home until they find the location they prefer the most.
In the end, it’s important to remember that it can be a process of trial and error, and it may take you a few turns before you get the exact right type of litter, the environment setup, and the proper pace. Arm yourself with patience and persistence, adjust as needed, and success will follow in no time – you will have a perfectly litter-trained rabbit!
A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.
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