How to litter train your rabbit
Many pet owners new to keeping rabbits are surprised to learn that rabbits can be litter trained just like cats! This shouldn’t surprise you though as rabbits are very clean animals and not only do they have a favored corner for littering in, they will go elsewhere if that corner becomes too smelly. For this reason a litter tray placed in a spot your rabbit will enjoy visiting , regularly cleaned is a great idea, especially for house bunnys. It is also a good idea to litter train your outdoor bunnys as it makes keeping their hutches and pens clean and tidy so much easier.
Rabbits are not low maintenance pets and cleaning is a major part of their care. This article will show you some of the items you can use to litter train your rabbit and ensure their living space is kept nice and clean and safe from bacteria.
What can I use as a rabbit litter tray?
You can use any litter tray designed for cats, they’re usually large enough. Just ensure they fit inside the rabbit enclosure leaving enough room for the rabbit to feed and move about without being in it! Or you can buy a specially designed rabbit litter tray. These are generally shaped to fit in the corner of the rabbit hutch or pen.
Rabbits sometimes like to rearrange their ‘furniture’ so a litter tray that can be fixed to the cage is a great way to prevent litter ending up all around the house. The litter tray featured here can be fixed to the cage and is designed to prevent scattering of litter. It comes highly recommended and is not too costly.
Rabbit Litter Tray
Rabbits like to scatter their litter which can be messy but with this clever litter tray design the mess can be avoided! The rack design also keeps buns feet away from his wet litter and droppings. A good alternative to this litter tray is a stainless steel cooking pan with grill. Always line it for ease of cleaning with pet litter liners or newspaper.
What litter is safe to use for my rabbit?
You can make your own rabbit litter using recycled newspapers, shredded or buy specialised rabbit litter which is safe should they ingest it (rabbits like to eat everything). Not all cat litter is safe for rabbits. Cats don’t try to eat their litter whereas rabbits may do so it has to be safe for rabbits. Some rabbit owners use dust free hay which they can nibble on while they use the litter tray. Using ‘dust free’ is very important as rabbits are prone to respiratory infections.
How often should I change my rabbits litter?
I remove the soiled rabbit litter from my bunnys tray every day, first thing in the morning. He tends to only use one corner which makes this a practical way of keeping his litter tray clean. I then top up what I’ve removed with fresh litter. If they use all their litter tray then change it completely every day. I know some rabbit owners don’t clean their rabbits litter this often but I have found that if I don’t keep my bunnys litter clean and fresh he will go outside of his litter tray. He’s very particular! So for his sake and mine I do it daily.
I use a rabbit safe disinfectant and paper towels to clean the litter tray when I remove all the litter for a general clean every couple of days. Any disinfectant you use MUST be rabbit safe.
NOTE: Rabbits like to eat when they’re pooping and peeing so have a little fresh hay on their tray or next to their tray for them to enjoy when using their litter tray.
How to stop my rabbit littering outside his litter tray?
Even the best litter trained rabbits will have an urge to mark their territory, and that might include you! My bunny keeps his indoor and outdoor pen perfectly clean with droppings and urine contained within the litter tray. BUT when he’s out in my rabbit proofed room, he will leave droppings and occasionally wet a surface he thinks he needs make his own! He’s a new bunny to our family so I am still training him out of this habit.
The way to do this is by teaching your bunny the meaning of the word ‘No’. Every time your rabbit chews something they shouldn’t or sprays, urinates outside the litter tray, say a firm ‘NO’ and in the case of messing place them straight into their litter tray and in the case of damage to property, place them back in their pen. Like with puppy training and even toddler training, persistence will pay off! My bunny does know the meaning of the word ‘no’. Whether he takes any notice depends on his ‘mood’. Bunny’s have very varied temperament and lots of different moods which makes them fascinating pets.
Do not ever ‘smack’ or physically discipline your rabbit or shout. Simply use the ‘NO’ rule consistently.
It is said meanwhile that it is easier to litter train spayed and neutered rabbits as they tend to want to mark territory less. I had my bunny neutered at 16weeks and now he’s 5 months old and he still wants to pee on the cat … so I’m not sure how accurate this information is.
Some rabbit owners use treats to reward their rabbits for successfully using their rabbit litter tray or box. Make sure any treats are rabbit safe and appropriate for their specialised diet. A small piece of apple when rabbit uses the litter box for the first few times should be enough. You won’t have to keep doing this as rabbit will continue to use the litter tray once he gets started. It’s their preference to use the same spot.
Be patient with your rabbit when litter box training. It takes time, but is worth the effort.
If you have some funny rabbit litter training stories or more great tips, let us know in comments.
The rabbit featured in this photo is my very own bunny!! He’s a Gangsta bun, has lots of attitude. Featured below are some cartoons I drew for crazy bunny moms like me. I hope you like them 🙂 You can view more bunny mom gifts here.
Crazy Bunny Mom Tee