Rabbits are intelligent animals that can easily be trained. In our previous blog, we have discussed the basic things you need to provide to keep your bunny happy. This time, let us elaborate the steps on how to litter-train a rabbit to make you, as an owner, happy and your house clean.
Getting the right rabbit litter tray
When choosing a litter tray, it is best to get one which is big enough for your rabbit. The larger the better, especially if you have more than two rabbits. Moreover, you need to prepare additional litter trays as rabbits tend to insist on having more than one litter location.
Getting the right litter
What kind of litter do you need for rabbits? Most rabbits spend a lot of time near or in their litter trays. They are likely to nibble some of the litter and are known to eat more often whilst using their litter tray. With that in mind, it is important to choose the right type of litter. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Place some newspaper at the bottom of the litter tray. This will make cleaning easier.Tip: Make sure that the newspaper used is using soy-based ink, which is safe for rabbits.
- Purchase paper-based litter or untreated aspen chips. Avoid using products made of pine or cedar chips as they are treated with oils that can irritate your bunny’s lungs. Can you use cat litter for a rabbit? Clumping cat litters is not recommended as they could also cause bowel blockage.
- Place hay on top of the newspaper. This is a good trick to entice your rabbit to come into the litter tray. Remember that they usually like to snack whilst toileting. Choose good quality hay that is not dusty, mouldy, or smelly.
Introducing the litter tray to your rabbit
In the wild, it is natural for rabbits to consider a particular area as their toilet. Even domestic rabbits retained the same instinct.
- Choose a location.
Firstly, keep your rabbit in an enclosed area inside an indoor cage. Provide food, freshwater, and of course, your attention.
- Set the litter tray.
Let your bunny recognise the litter tray. Place some remains of the rabbit’s poop and urine-soaked in paper or hay inside. Rabbits tend to prefer a corner location for their toilet. It is important to clean up after an accident. Droppings should be placed immediately in the litter tray. This will show her the appropriate place for toileting. Help her recognise the litter tray by keeping it not too clean and leaving the scent in it. When kept too clean, she might hesitate to use it.
- Provide additional litter tray.
There are some cases where your rabbit chooses to go to the toilet in a different corner of the room; do not punish the rabbit or shout at it. Instead, move the litter tray in the desired area. As the training is fully grasped, you may lessen the number of litter trays. Rabbits are habitual creatures. Once a routine is properly established, they usually prefer to follow it.
The key to litter-train a rabbit
How long does it take to litter-train a rabbit? Some rabbits can easily adapt to changes. Generally, litter training may take a week. It is very important to give your rabbit time to establish the habit. Pet them and give rewards whenever they do the right thing.
Younger rabbits that under four months of age usually have a shorter attention span. Do not expect quick results, giving time and patience, successful training will be achieved.
Neutering or spaying rabbits can also make a great difference. At the age of four to six months, your rabbit may have active hormones. This leads to spraying whenever they feel the need to mark their territory. By neutering or spaying your rabbit, he will more likely to use his litter tray and reduce the chances of spraying.
Be observing, rabbits often run to a corner to urinate once freed from the cage. Look for the signs: a rabbit usually lets her tail rise and its ears are in a relaxed position. Once spotted, be quick to steer her into the litter tray, but never yell or punish.