Can I Litter Box Train My Rabbit?

When you hear the word "litter box," most people think of a cat. But, rabbits can be trained to use them as well. Here's how:

  • Pick an appropriate litter box. Make sure it is sturdy and impermeable and it won't break or splinter, if chewed. It should be large enough for the rabbit to fully stretch or stand up. High sides and covers will prevent litter from spilling out of the box, but may intimidate your rabbit.
  • Choose a good litter. Clay-based and clumping litters which are often used with cats are not recommended for rabbits. Rabbits are more likely to ingest the litter, which can lead to intestinal blockages. For rabbits, use litter made from aspen shavings or recycled paper. Pine and cedar shavings can be unhealthy for rabbits so they should be avoided.
  • Locate your rabbit's preferred "potty spot." Figure out the areas of the cage or room that your rabbit uses as a bathroom. Simply place a litter box in that corner. If you are in a larger room or allow access to multiple rooms, additional litter boxes are recommended.
  •  Leave scent clues. Place a few recent droppings in the box. This helps trigger the rabbit's instinct to use the box as a bathroom. Placing timothy hay in the litter box with your rabbit will reinforce this behavior because both functions often occur at the same time.
  • Reward your rabbit. Reinforce litter box use by offering favorite food treats when your bunny shows good potty manners while he is still in the litterbox.
  • Keep the litter box clean. Dirty boxes simply won't get used. Keep the box fresh! All litter should be removed and the litter box scrubbed every other day. If the box is used infrequently, such as in a room your rabbit is only allowed into for short periods of time, cleaning out the soiled portions and scrubbing it every week would be appropriate.

 
If you would like to talk to an Anti-Cruelty Society behaviorist regarding this behavior topic, please call 312-645-8253 or email help@anticruelty.org to schedule a consultation.
 

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