Rabbits poop a LOT. Your little rabbit just poops and eats all day long. You might start to have second thoughts about having a house rabbit. Seriously, Who would want to clean up poop all day?
The good news! Rabbits are actually very clean animals. They will want to keep their environment and themselves clean. Just like cats! Rabbits can even be trained to use a litter box. It takes a little bit of additional work to assist your rabbit understand that the litter box is where they should use the bathroom. It takes a little work to teach a rabbit to use the litter box consistently. But with patience, you’ll get there to Litter Train Your Rabbit.
How to litter train your rabbit
Most of the time this whole process will only take a couple of weeks. But sometimes you’ll be dealing with a very stubborn rabbit who will need patience and a little more time while they figure out how to use the litter box correctly.
1. Start small
You will need to start small. For the first day or more, keep your rabbit in their enclosure (make sure it’s a big enough space). If you want to allow your rabbit free range of the house and do not have any enclosure for them, you can start by keeping your rabbit in a small room of the house, such as the bathroom.
To help your rabbit find the litter box when they need to go, try to keep the space small. Rabbits also prefer to have a clean environment. A smaller area helps encourage general cleanliness because soiling a larger area will mean less clean places to sprawl out in.
- Move the box to the corner the rabbit uses: The first thing you’ll want to do is watch your rabbit. Rabbits are clean animals and will usually pick one corner of their enclosure to consistently use as their bathroom. try to move the litter box to that corner once your rabbit has picked a potty place. You’ll also need to sweep up some of your rabbit’s poops and place them on the litter tray.
- Transfer newspaper with pee into the litter box: If your rabbit pees outside the litter box, you can very simply take the piece of newspaper and place it into the bottom of the litter tray. This keeps the scent of the pee in the litter box and it makes cleaning up easier. You can continue to put new sheets of newspaper down on the enclosure floor until the rabbit starts to only use the litter box.
- Keep a little poop and urine in the litter box: While you are litter training your rabbit, you don’t want to completely clean out their box. You want to make sure they continue to associate the box with their bathroom, and having the scent of the pee and poop helps out a lot.
- Make sure to clean the enclosure regularly: Rabbits really do prefer to keep their home clean. So helping your rabbit by disinfecting and cleaning the cage on a daily basis will really help to encourage their clean instincts.
Most of the time, the rabbit will discover how to use the litter box in their enclosure in a matter of days. It’s okay if they take a little bit of time though, rabbits will learn at their own speed. The young rabbits will usually take a little longer to learn, but I actually find older rabbits that are set in their ways to be the most difficult to teach. For these buns, you’ll need to make sure you’re diligent about cleaning their environment. You may even need multiple litter boxes inside the enclosure to help get the point across.
2. Give your rabbit a little more space
After a couple of days, you will want to start letting your rabbit out to explore. Hopefully, by now your rabbit will be starting to get the hang of using the litter box, but it’s okay if they’re not perfect yet. You still need to give them some time to exercise.
- Add litter boxes: Set up a couple more litter boxes in likely corners of the room before you let your rabbit out. If your rabbit chooses a different place to use the bathroom while they’re out, move a litter box to the new location. Add some rabbit poop and pee-stained newspaper, to help your rabbit associate it with the bathroom. You also want to use the same type of litter in all the boxes.
- Start with smaller spaces: When you first start letting your rabbit out, you don’t want to give them a full run of the house. Start by keeping them confined to just one room in the house. As your rabbit’s potty habits improve, you can start letting them into other areas of the house (with more litter boxes).
- Pay close attention: The best way to litter train your rabbit is by catching them in the act which means that you have to pay very close attention to your rabbit, if not you will definitely miss the act. Right before a rabbit pees, they will raise their tail up. That’s your queue.
- Cleaning up accidents: Rabbits are very likely to go back to the same places to use the bathroom, so you don’t want your rabbit’s smell to stick around your home. Clean up any accidents right away. Try to soak up some of the pee with a piece of newspaper and put it on the bottom of the box. Then clean up the poop and completely purify the area with your pet-safe cleaner.
- increase the amount of time your rabbit is allowed to stay out: Start by letting your rabbit out in short bursts at a time. 15-30 minutes at a time, 3-4 times a day (to make sure they get enough exercise) is a good place to start. But as they get better at using the litter box, start letting them out for longer periods of time.
3. After your rabbit starts to learn using the litter boxes consistently
If it seems like your rabbit starts to learn using the litter box consistently, it’s time to start taking off the training wheels and see how your rabbit does. The goal is to have one litter box for your rabbit in their enclosure, so you don’t have to have so many scattered around the house anymore.
- Make sure your rabbit goes back to their environment to use the bathroom: You probably don’t need to keep a very close eye on your rabbit any more, but pay enough attention to notice if they’re going back to their litter box periodically. If they’re not, it may be a sign that they’ve found another place in the house to use the bathroom.
- Remove extra litter boxes: One at a time, remove the extra litter boxes you have scattered around your house. Take away the box that is closest to the enclosure the first day. Then the next closest and so on, until you have only one place left in the rabbit’s enclosure.
- Check for any accidents: Look around the house, especially around where the litter boxes used to be. Make sure your rabbit isn’t having any accidents while you’re taking away the training boxes. If they do, you can put the litter box back and try again in another couple of days.
- Great job! Your rabbit is litter box train. Once your rabbit is going back to their enclosure to use the bathroom and successfully remove all the boxes, you’ve done it.
If it is your first time you adopt a rabbit, there is an easy way around the litter training steps. Adopt a rabbit! Many rabbits in shelters already have very good litter box habits. So if you’re worried you won’t have the time to train your rabbit properly, you can ask the staff or volunteers at your shelter which rabbits have good potty habits. They’ll help you find the best rabbit for your life situation.