Imagine waking up to finding little pellets everywhere and a gut-wrenching smell! It happened to me a lot before. I have two tiny cute rabbits! I got them as a housewarming present last summer. They are so cute, and fluffy, soft, and cuddly. But, they poop too! isn’t it cute also? ha ha ha.
My experience of living with rabbits taught me how to litter train a rabbit fast. When i first tried to litter training my bunnies, it took me a lot of research. I watched a lot of videos to understand how this works. Trust me, it required a lot of patience.
Lucky for you, I’m sharing those real-life experiences of how i litter trained my rabbit. You will soon be able to stop your rabbit from using your home as a giant litter box.
Getting the Supplies
First things first, you’ve got to gather all the necessary supplies. There are very few supplies required to set up the litter box and start training your rabbits.
First in our list is the litter box. You can buy a designated litter box for rabbits at any nearby pet store. Generally, rabbit litter boxes are elevated on the back. This is done in order to prevent litter from falling out while scraping it. The front is, however, of low-height, so that the rabbits can hop in with ease.
You can use a basic cat litter tray, instead of a rabbit litter tray. You can also make do with a lightweight cardboard box but make sure to replace it daily.
Line the bottom part of the litter tray with sheets of paper. It would be best if you use old-newspapers. Most newspapers are soy-based inked, which is not harmful to rabbits. But it’s better always to check before you use it. The newspaper lining at the bottom will make it easier to clean the tray.
Choose the litter for your litter box that is safe for rabbits, such as untreated aspen chips or paper-based litter. Do not use clumping cat litters or clay-based litters. Eating them would cause your rabbit a bowel blockage.
You need to get a cage that is 3 to 6 times bigger than the size of the rabbit. Then, the very first step to train your rabbit will be restricting it inside a cage with water, food, and a hide. The restricted space inside a cage encourages some rabbits to litter in the tray and not soil the living area. But, not all rabbits need a cage to be litter trained.
Get some hay from a local farmer or order some online. The hay will attract the bunnies towards the litter box. Bunnies are fond of munching on hay while toileting, that’s a little gross but a fact! So getting hay will encourage them to use the tray to litter.
Litter Scoop along with Disinfectant
You need to scoop out the litter if it gets soiled with urine. The entire tray needs to be lined with disinfectants at least once every week. You can get disinfectant designed for small animals at the pet store.
Now that you’ve got the supplies, it’s time to set it up!
Laying out the Litter Box:
The second step towards training your rabbit to litter on a litter box is to set it up, of course. The setup may not be perfected on the first try, but I promise it gets easier with practice!
First, line the bottom part of the tray with a folded-up newspaper. On top of the newspaper, lay approximately an inch of litter. Collect some of your rabbit’s pellets, and drop it inside the litter. The distinctive smell inside the box will give your rabbit the sense of it being the appropriate place to litter.
Next, set the litter tray inside the rabbit’s cage. Place it at the edge of the cage with some hay scattered in the tray. You can also connect a hay rack to the cage near the tray.
Now, set up bedding on the other end of the cage. Afterward, place food, water, followed by a hide next to it. This is to make your rabbit comfortable in the space.
We will advise you to set up more than one litter box in the house. Put boxes near the areas where your rabbit likes to spend more time Rabbits more likely to use the litter box if it is near them. Observe where your rabbit does its business and place litter boxes on those areas.
Litter Training Your Rabbit:
It’s better to begin litter training your rabbit the moment you bring them home. Generally, adult rabbits can be litter trained much quicker than baby rabbits. But, it’s always fair to start training early. Give your rabbit quick access to the tray as you bring them home and begin to train them to use the litter tray.
Let me warn you; this process can be very time-consuming. But, the good news is that, with love and patience, your rabbit will eventually learn to use the tray.
Most adult rabbits choose a corner of the house to defecate and urinate, so place the litter box right in that space. If your rabbit defecates outside the litter box, scoop the litter up and drop it in the tray. This will hint them about where to go.
It helps to restrict your rabbit to the cage you put the litter box in. This way, it will learn not to use the sleeping and eating area for littering. Keep the rabbit inside the cage, give it some time to figure out the difference. It shouldn’t take more than two days. Once you notice that your rabbit understands this, it’s time to let the rabbit out.
Initially, let your rabbit roam out for a short while, but do not exceed ten minutes. You would not want to leave your rabbit unsupervised.
If the rabbit raises its tail in the air, that’s your sign it’s about to urinate or defecate. Allow it out to exercise, when you notice the sign, pick your rabbit up and place it on the litter box inside the cage.
Positive reinforcement works on bunnies too. When your rabbit uses the litter box offers them a little treat to establish good behavior. Never yell or throw a tantrum towards your rabbit if it fails to use the litter box. They don’t learn this way, and it is cold-heart-cruel to yell at such a cute fuzzy little thing.
After your rabbit uses the litter box, immediately reward it with a treat, a bit of an apple, or a carrot. This will create a positive linkage between the litter box and toileting.
When you notice your rabbit using the litter tray regularly, you can consider reducing the number of litter boxes. You can also move them from your rabbit’s preferred corner and place them where you want. You can rely on them to only soil the litter box now.
Cleaning the Tray:
It is vital to keep the litter tray clean to maintain hygiene and prevent unwanted odors. Here’s how you keep it clean.
Once a day, check the litter box and scoop out the litter that is soiled with urine on a timely basis. It’s okay to leave the pellets on the tray as they mark a scent for the rabbits to use the tray again.
Now, this may seem a little gross. When you find large, moist-looking pellets on a dirty tray, don’t scoop it out. Your rabbit needs to re-eat this to get vital nutrients, so put them down in the little tray. Believe me, this concerns your rabbit’s health. Without re-eating the vital nutrients, your rabbit may suffer from diarrhea or gastric disturbances.
Once a week, empty the entire tray and clean it thoroughly. Use disinfectants to clean the tray, rinse it well, and allow it to dry before you set it up again.
Let’s go over this one last time, shall we? You get the necessary supplies from a pet store, you set up a litter box in a cage, and you start training your rabbit, that’s all. But be sure to regularly maintain the cleanliness of the litter tray, it is essential for your rabbit and yourself.
So, that’s how to litter train your rabbit! Don’t give up on your favorite pet! I know they are a little high maintenance, but that cute fluffy little creature only needs some help. A little time, patience, and some treats will get them well trained in no time.