Do you want to pet a rabbit but not so sure if you can handle cleaning their poop all the time? Can we potty train a rabbit? Impossible!
It is a common misconception that rabbits are untidy animals. But not everyone knows that rabbits make a great companion inside our homes just like any other pets.
Though rabbits are not like any pets who naturally go to the bathroom to do some business, they can actually be potty trained.
Before You Start Training Your Rabbit
It is essential to know if your rabbit is spayed or neutered. Rabbits who aren’t spayed or neutered are incredibly territorial. Because of this, they mark their area with pee and poop to make sure other rabbits know that area is theirs.
This behavior is natural even if there is no other rabbit in the area. The tendency of having issues during potty training is lesser if your rabbit is spayed or neutered compared to intact ones. Rabbits that are intact are tough to potty train; some even say they can’t be even trained. So, as an owner, you need to have a lot of patience.
Moreover, it is vital that your rabbit is spayed or neutered when the right time comes because it has many health and behavioral advantages.
Put in mind also that it takes about a month for hormones to die down after a spay or neuter. So, it might take a little bit of time after the procedure for them to pick up on potty training.
If you don’t know whether your rabbit is spayed or neutered, visit your veterinarian. Talking to your veterinarian will also help you gain insights about training your rabbit.
Potty Training A Rabbit Is Easier Than You Think!
Rabbits need at least 30 hours in a week to move around. For that reason, it is a big advantage if you will potty train them. Aside from you’ll be able to let them roam free inside the house without worrying. You will also save time from cleaning up instead of cleaning the whole cage every other day.
So, here is the step-by-step guide to potty train your rabbit. Please bear in mind that patience is essential for successful potty training.
1) Use A Proper Litter Box
The appropriate box for rabbits is those large ones where at least two of them will fit into. They must be able to hop, turn and move around on it easily. Furthermore, it must have enough high edges as rabbits are well-known for shooting their pee relatively high.
Never consider using those boxes for litter being sold at pet stores, as those are way smaller. If the litter is too small, there is a tendency that they will not use it simply because it did not meet the needs they need.
2) Use A Proper Litter
This step is essential as rabbits are quite picky. You should never use clay litter, clumping litter, or anything scented pine or cedar shavings. All of these litters can have health risks associated with them.
It is recommended to use wood stove pellets without accelerants added or horse stall pellets. These are perfectly safe for rabbits to use. It has a great natural scent and great absorption of its waste. However, some rabbits may not like the hard pellets underneath their feet.
In this case, it is recommended to add a small hay layer on top of the litter. Layering it with thin care fresh is also an excellent method to use. This method is beneficial, especially if your rabbit is a little old, as older rabbits mostly have issues with sore hocks.
3) Put The Litter Box Underneath A Hay Rack
Rabbits usually go to the bathroom while they’re eating, and this behavior applies to every single rabbit. So, if you’re putting the majority of the hay on top of their litter box, they must be inside to be able to eat it.
Therefore, they will end up putting their waster where they at. If your rabbit has just started learning the training, it is important to take note of this. Putting hay inside or on top of the litter box during this time is very helpful.
When the time comes that your rabbit is more trained, you can try putting hay outside of their litter box. But, just remember that some rabbits might never be able to adapt to having hay outside of their litter box. Even so, this only happened to some individual rabbits.
See also: My Ferret Stopped Using The Litter Box
4) Put The Litter Box In The Corner
Whichever part of the house you’re planning to put the litter box, it is best to put it in a corner. The reason for this is that rabbit prefers to go to the bathroom in corners. Many times, if the litter box is not provided to a rabbit, they will pick a specific corner to pee in or poop.
This behavior is just something natural for the rabbits. Therefore, placing the litter box in the corner is a good way to help the litter training process. If your rabbit has already chosen a specific corner or a specific place, try placing the litter box in that area.
If they have multiple areas, you may have to provide a couple of litter boxes during this time. When you are more litter trained, you can start removing extra litter boxes. In the meantime, they may need a couple more.
5) Keep The Area Small
If you are just starting to potty train your rabbit, you may want to put them in a smaller space. Space where they can still roam and have their playtime while litter boxes are placed in the corner.
Keeping the area small makes it easier for your rabbit to remember to use the litter box because the litter box is closer by.
So, when they have the urge to go to the bathroom, it’s closer for them to hop into than if they were in a larger space. Once they are litter trained, you can place them in a much larger space.
Potty training a rabbit requires tons of patience. But once you see they successfully understand to use the litter box, it is really rewarding. However, do not lift and force a rabbit to use the litter box.
The reason why is that it will appear negatively from their perspective. Moreover, it will cause a negative association with the litter box; hence, they will most likely try to avoid it.
In order to make the litter box a more positive experience for the rabbit, whenever you see them willingly hop into try giving them a treat.
Furthermore, please be aware that some will never be 100% litter trained. It will still vary on a rabbit’s personality.