How to House Train your RabbitPetmania Pet Care Advisor
Can my Rabbit be House Trained?
Rabbits can make wonderful indoor pets but many people are unsure if they can be house trained. Well, the answer is yes, with a bit of patience, a good routine, and of course a litter box, they can be house trained! In the blog post below we’re going to show you how to get your beloved pet rabbit house trained and ready to welcome into your home.
Preparing your Litter Box
The first step to house training your rabbit is to make sure you have one or two small cat litter boxes with low sides and no top. You could also make use of a shallow storage tub. If it’s too tall, you can cut a little doorway into one of the sides. Corner litter boxes that are generally advertised for bunnies are too small, so don’t bother with them.
Use recycled, unscented paper litter (the unscented version will counteract any bad urine odors, so we recommend this). Clay-based or clumping litter is harmful to rabbits’ respiratory systems, so avoid using them, as well as wood shavings.
At the bottom of the litter box, place a thin layer of litter- just enough to absorb any wetness. As rabbits don’t bury their droppings, there isn’t any need to fill it too high, and you can dump all of the contents out in one go-this will save you going through lots of litter if you fill it too deeply each time.
Good Litter Box Habits
Rabbits tend to eat hay and poop simultaneously. To get your rabbit into good litter box habits, we recommend placing hay either straight in the box over the litter or in a hay box beside the litter box. If you do decide to use a hay box, locate it in such a way that the rabbit must hop into the litter box so he can reach the hay.
It’s important to get your rabbit used to the area at the start, and the best way to develop good litter box habits is by initially limiting their space. You could use a puppy pen to bound your rabbit to one area. Once they have consistently used the litter box, you can slowly increase the area. If your rabbit begins to ‘forget’ to use the litter box, then it is best to confine them into a smaller space again until good habits come back.
Cleaning up Accidents
Accidents are guaranteed to happen in the early days of house training your rabbit, so be prepared. All you have to do is to mop up urine with some kitchen paper, pick up the stray poop and put them both in the litter box. This will help reinforce the idea that the litter box is where they need to go toilet.
You may need to place a plastic mat under their litter box if you find your rabbit is urinating over the edge or leaving droppings just next to the box. This will help make it easier to clean up their little accidents.
Your rabbit may have picked up some bad habits so it is important to be patient when house training them, as it can take time to retrain them. If you can see they’re about to do their business outside their litter box (look out if they lift their tail or shimmy down in a seated position), carefully pick them up and put them in the litter box or enclose them in.
What if my Rabbit is Stubborn?
If you find your rabbit is constantly going toilet in one corner of the room, it may be in your best interests to give in to their stubbornness and place the litter box in that corner. When rabbits frequently choose a different place to go, they may be trying to tell you that that’s the spot they’ve chosen to do their business.
If you find your rabbit is doing their business anywhere and everywhere, they could be marking their territory, so it is a good idea to get your rabbit spayed/neutered in these types of situations to ease these territorial tendencies.
Remember, house training your rabbit can take a lot of time, patience, and much determination-but in the end, you’ll have a wonderful little friend to share your home with.