Are you thinking of getting a rabbit, but concerned about litter training? Wonder can it really be done? The short answer is yes, it can! All it takes is a little consistency and planning.
You will want to make sure your sweet bunny is spayed or neutered. It can be very difficult to change a rabbit’s habits once established, so it is very important to focus on litter training them from the start, before they get used to going anywhere they choose. However, older rabbits are easier to train than younger rabbits, especially babies. You just need to stick with it until they learn.
First, choose a convenient litter location.
Bunnies naturally will tend to pick a corner (or two) when they need to go. Start by putting them in an enclosed area with the corner you will want to keep their litter box.
If it is in a laundry room or bathroom, be sure to have a mat or rug down so the bunny can lay down comfortably. You will want to keep your bunny in this area in order to get them acquainted with and consistently going in their litter box.
Keep in mind that rabbit urine does have a very strong odor and they like to spend a lot of time in their litter boxes.
Second, choose and prepare a litter box.
The litter box you choose for your rabbit should be a rectangular shape that your rabbit can comfortably complete a 360 degree turn. If you choose to use a covered box, it can help keep the urine and litter contained.
Then line the litter box with newspaper or a paper grocery bag, this will help for an easier clean up. Then add a layer of an ultra-absorbent paper litter, such as carefresh. Do not use softwoods like pine or cedar shavings or clumping litters. Rabbits do like to nibble on some of the litter and these may cause liver damage or digestive and respiratory problems. Always be sure to monitor them closely after changing to a new bedding or litter.
carefresh is not only ultra-absorbent but is made from scratch, with no harsh chemicals or synthetic dyes, so you can provide your rabbit with the softest, driest, most comfortable home. Available at most local pet stores, use our store locator to find the closest store that sells carefresh.
It also makes a great warm and cozy nesting material for baby rabbits. To dispose soiled litter, carefresh can be used as mulch or composted and rabbit pills can even be applied to plants as a great fertilizer!
You may also want to include some yummy hay on top of the litter as rabbits like to graze while they go, plus, this helps to keep their digestive track moving.
Third, introduce your bunny to their new litter area.
Initially you should be in the room while your rabbit is first learning to use the box, so whenever they leave droppings outside of the box, immediately put the bunny and droppings into the box. When they urinate, wipe it up with a paper towel and then put both the rabbit and the soiled paper towel in the litter box, this will help them as they begin learn where they should go. (You will also want to clean and deodorize the area they urinated at, please be sure to use a pet-friendly cleaning solution).
Once your rabbit is in the litter box, encourage them with words of praise. Continue doing this until you feel the bunny is consistently going in the litter box, this could take anywhere from a few days to two weeks.
Finally, give your rabbit more space to roam.
Once you are confident your bunny is going in their litter box, give them a little more space to explore. You can even repeat step three in a few different rooms, and you may want to have a few extra litter box locations for your bunny to go.
If your rabbit has any accidents, be sure to just put them and their droppings or urine in the box and clean and disinfect the area they originally went. Once in the box, praise them again. It is helpful to take them to the box every ten minutes or so and encourage them to go with a treat to hand out if they do.
It takes a little bit of consistency and patience, but follow these simple steps and you will have a litter- trained rabbit in no time.
For more helpful information and details on litter training your rabbit, please visit the House Rabbit Society website.