What is the best way to train a rabbit to use a litterbox?

Mine has been used to the outdoors during the warmer weather, but how do I house train when I bring him in for the winter?

Asked by Angie

1 Answer

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Rabbits are reasonably easy to litter train, with a little patience. Which is a good thing because they are becoming more and more popular as house pets!

To start the training process you will need to confine your bunny to a small space for a couple of days with their litter tray. A cage is fine or you can corner off a section of a room.

Provide a cat litter tray, (the rabbit specific ones are often too small) line it with newspaper to absorb the urine and a small amount of non-scented and non-clumping litter. Rabbits don’t bury their droppings like cats so it doesn’t need to be too deep and this means that when you clean it out, you can simply chuck the whole lot away and not waste too much. When you start, put some of their poo pellets and urine soaked bedding in the tray, so they get the idea about what it is for. If they have already shown a preference for one area of their cage, place the tray in this corner. Only empty the tray every other day, the constant scent will encourage your rabbit to continue to use it.

Rabbits often eat at the same time as pooing, so place a hay feeder close to the tray so they can manage this.

When your rabbit goes into the tray, reward them with a treat like a piece of carrot. If they look like they are about to pass anything and they aren’t in the tray, either pick them up or herd them towards it and then offer a treat.

Once they are used to the tray, allow them access to a larger area and place the tray where you would like them to use it, if it isn’t staying where it was. However, some rabbits will make their own choice as to where they would like to toilet and often, it is easier to agree with them than to try to force them to use somewhere else!

In the early stages, do expect accidents. If you find urine or feces elsewhere, scoop it up in a paper towel and place it in the tray. Also, rabbits often back right up to the edges of the tray and so sometimes things dribble over the side. Place the box on a wipe-clean surface to help you with cleaning this or buy a higher sided one once they have got the idea.

Once they hit puberty, both sexes of rabbits often start to spray urine as a territory marking behavior, this is natural but not very pleasant and a definite backwards step with their training! Neutering will calm this down and the best person to talk to about that is your vet. | 02.10.16 @ 15:50
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