Rabbits poop, a lot. But luckily for us, they love finding one or two places (usually corners) to go to the toilet on a regular basis. This makes the act of litter training a rabbit very easy.
Before we start, it’s very important to know that your rabbit will have little ‘accidents’ and spray a lot until they are neutered/spayed. This will likely solve 90% of problems when you try to litter train a rabbit.
There’s plenty of ‘rabbit’ litter boxes out there, but to put it simply, they’re too small. We highly recommend a small cat litter box with low sides and no top.
Alternatively, you can use a low height storage box, we found some great cheaper alternatives in a local shop which we drilled holes in and pegged to the rabbit run. This stop your rabbit throwing around their toilet!
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to force your rabbit to go to the loo in a certain location. Your rabbits will likely show you where they want to go to the toilet by pooping and peeing on your fresh clean carpet.
Once you know their favourite places, simply place litter trays there and you’ll find they pick it up quicker than you’d expect.
We recommend using Carefresh, Back 2 Nature recycled pellets or aspen shavings (Not Pine or Cedar). You can use simply hay or newspaper but they can create a foul smell and will need changing regularly.
No Clay Cat Litter. This is something I’ve seen mentioned on a few Facebook groups, avoid this as it can cause blockages in your bunnies stomach and will cause GI stasis.
It’s very important to pick the right litter as you don’t want to harm your rabbit, whilst most cat litters are fine, if you’re not sure please do ask on our Facebook group!
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When using layer, you ideally want to put newspaper down first followed by a small layer of litter. You don’t need to put too much litter in because rabbits don’t dig and hide their droppings as cats do.
Next up, place some fresh hay at one end of their litter box either in a hay feeder or in the toilet itself. If your rabbit already has some droppings, place them in the clean side of the toilet opposite your hay.
You want to put the droppings in the toilet to tell your rabbit this is their territory and the best place to use the loo.
We change our rabbit’s toilet whenever as he’s not aggressive, however, temperament can change depending on breed and prior experience, so try changing their litterbox whenever your rabbit is occupied playing or sleeping.
We recommend putting the same mixed-hay as you would for your rabbit normally, there’s no specific hay you need for the litter box.
If you’ve kept the hay up against a fence or cage, definitely try putting up a hay feeder that will allow your rabbit to work for their hay.
If you’re not sure which hay to use, we recommend a mixture of dust-free Meadow Hay, Orchard Grass and Timothy Hay.
We have reviewed a few hay brands, so definitely do check them out.
There’s no real recommendation for a hay feeder, it really depends on your set up. But for your comfort, we use the following:
You should find this comes with most cages you purchase.
Toilet training your rabbit takes around 1 week to 3 weeks, you’re going to need to be quick to remove droppings outside the toilet and place them inside. If there’s any urine or accidents you’ll need to clean them up too. We often found if we used tissue paper on urine and placed it in the back of the toilet that helped associate a scent for the back of the toilet to be where the pee goes.
Your rabbit should be fully-toilet trained in no time if you’re strict on those rules, make sure not to punish your rabbit if they have an accident or make a mistake as this can not only undo any work done to teach them but will also teach them nothing.
It’s never too late to toilet train your rabbit, sometimes accidents happen and you’ll need to retrain your rabbit, rabbits are incredibly smart creatures and just need some assistance with patterns and relearning. If you’ve recently moved furniture or their toilet you may find they go to the old toilet out of habit, simply give them a push away from that area and try to show them the new toilet with a pellet as a treat.
This little trick worked wonders for us, simply fill a spray bottle with 1/5th white vinegar and the rest water, spray the area and dab dry. It may smell vinegary for a bit, but with enough dabbing the smell should clear through.
This solution can be kept safely for a long period of time should you need to get it again at any point.
Be patient – Litter training isn’t something that can be done in 24 hours, it’s going to take a few weeks to either train or retrain your rabbit into a good habit. If they pee outside their toilet or poop just to the side of it, clean the pee up quickly and move the poo into the toilet as soon as possible. It’s normal for a rabbit to lift its tail when in the toilet, if it’s out of the toilet to try to lift them into the toilet, they will soon get the picture.
Start with a smaller area – Before letting your rabbit roam all rooms in your house, keep them only to one room. Changing their scenery or introducing them somewhere else will also open you up to needing to move their toilet.
Show them who’s boss – Rabbits will sometimes pee on your bed or sofa to show you they reign as leader of the household. It’s always worth setting yourself as the dominant figure. You can do this by moving your rabbit off the sofa every time you see them on it.
Make it cosy – This is your rabbit’s territory, leave them alone and give them regular fresh hay. Even if it seems wasteful, throw the old hay away every 2 days at least.
Don’t stress your rabbit – For the first few months, if they’re on the toilet, pay them no attention. How would you like it if people were staring at you whilst you used the loo? Let them establish their territory and become comfortable with the potential noises in their surroundings.
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