You love your bunny so much that you want them in the house with you 24/7, and that means it's time to learn how to litter train your rabbit.
First off, yes, it can be done.
And second, it's super easy! Because rabbits are cleanly little critters, and they prefer to poo in the same spot every time.
What You Need to Litter Train a Rabbit
While litter training a rabbit can take time (and some patience on your part) there's very little needed in the way of materials.
But the top items you'll want to have before you get started are:
- Timothy Hay
- Wood pellet bedding
- A shallow litter box that's easy for your bunny to hop into (and fits into your rabbit's den/cage).
- A barrier of some sort to contain your rabbit to a certain space during training
That's about it, let's get started!
Step 1: Familiarize Your Bunny with its Litter Box
The first step in training your rabbit to use the litter box is to introduce their new potty place to them inside of their cage.
It's ideal to place the litter box exactly on top of the place your rabbit has already dubbed its potty place. That way, they will instinctively want to "go" where the new litter box now exists.
One of the best ways to familiarize your rabbit with the purpose of its litter box is to put some of its poops directly inside of it, on top of the litter. In fact, the more the better for now. They'll recognize their own smell and see that their poo is already there...so it's only natural for them to want to use the box.
We like to allow our rabbits to investigate this new contraption on their own rather than forcing them to sit in it or look at it. If your bunny likes treats and praise, you can award them when they've done their business in the right place.
If they “go” in a different spot in their cage, practice patience. It might just mean they're not used to the new box in their cage. Just keep putting their poo into the litter box and/or move it to their new favorite poo place.
Rabbit training is a very natural process. Always remember that rabbits want to be clean and go in the same place every time.
And never, ever, hit or strike your rabbit for doing its business in the wrong place. They are learning and it just takes time.
Step 2: Move the Litter Box to the Play Area
Once your rabbit has been consistently using the litter box in their den, you can start leaving the door open to your bunny's designated play place. Perhaps you envision allowing your rabbit to have the run of the house.
All in good time.
The barrier is in place to reinforce the use of the litter box (which your bun is now familiar with) and to keep the house clean while litter box training is in process.
As your rabbit becomes more and more familiar with its litter box, you can start placing more litter boxes inside its play place. But...be sure to use boxes that are similar to the one your rabbit is already used to. You don't want your sweet little bun assuming that your flowerpots or shoe boxes are also litter boxes!
Step 3: Watch for Mistakes
When your bunny makes a mistake and goes outside of her litter boxes, don’t yell, hit or scream, or scare your bun...at all.
Remember, bunnies are prey animals so any aggressive behavior will startle your rabbit and maybe even set them back a few days.
You can, however, guide your rabbit back to her litter box if it looks like she might be getting ready to “go,” or if she has already gone in the wrong place.
To help your rabbit see the litter box as a positive experience, you can offer treats or timothy hay in the litter box. In fact, rabbits love to munch while they go, so putting some hay in their litter box might also encourage them to visit more frequently.
Special note: Rabbits naturally sleep in small spaces, including litter boxes. It's not wrong for your bun to curl up inside the litter box. It just means she likes it!
Step 4: Free Rein for Your Rabbit
Once your rabbit understands where the litter box is, and what it's for, you can open the barrier up to the rest of your home.
It's important to always try your best to keep your rabbit's cage (along with the main litter box) in the same place. If your bunny never knows where her litter boxes are, she will start going wherever she wants again.
Totes not her fault.
Just keep the litter box in the same place.
Lastly, make sure to keep the litter box clean by removing soiled bedding often. Even though rabbits like to go in the same place, they don't like filth or the ammonia that emits from an uncleaned litter box.
So help keep your bun's bum nice and clean!