Litter Box Training
Litter Box Training Print This Page
During the two weeks following neuter surgery, or when you first bring your adopted bunny home, confine him to a puppy pen with linoleum or a hard plastic desk mat underneath, or large dog crate with solid, moisture-proof flooring and a large litter box in the corner. Not a little triangular box, but a BIG cat box or cement mixing box made from hard plastic. Line the litter box with rabbit-safe litter (see our suggested products page), then top off with handfuls of grass hay, such as oat blend or timothy.
Whenever you see your rabbit hop into the box, praise him. Rabbits are quite sensitive and respond well to positive reinforcement. Don’t scold your bunny for not using the box. Instead, clean up urine with white vinegar, which completely removes the smell, and sweep up fecal pellets, placing them into the box where they belong.
- Bunny goes everywhere besides the box, and tends to nap in the box. Your rabbit is sending you a clear signal that s/he needs a second box, one to sleep in, one to “go” in.
- Bunny’s hopping all over and leaving pellets all over, too. The biggest mistake new bunny parents make is to give the rabbit too much space, too soon. Wait until your bunny’s box habits are as good as they are going to be, before letting him or her run “free” in the home.
- Bunny has picked a spot to use for the “bathroom” and goes there religiously. It isn’t the spot you had in mind. Once a bunny has made up his mind that the latrine is located in a particular area, it’s hard to convince him otherwise. Just put a litter box there.
Tips to help speed up and improve box training:
- Use a paper towel to soak up “accidents” and place it in the litter box.
- Keep the floor outside the box scrupulously clean.
- Provide a bigger litter box and/or a second litter box with soft litter and no hay.
- Use a brand of rabbit-safe litter that has very little odor of its own.
- Put fresh hay in the box several times daily to encourage bunny to hop in.
Within a few weeks of training, most neutered rabbits will use the litter box. The occasional stray “bunny pellet” can usually be expected, although some rabbits have perfect box habits.
After thorough box-training, rabbits can be given more space in a bunny-proofed area of the home and are on their way to becoming well-behaved house bunnies.