How To Littertrain Your Rabbit!

When speaking to friends/colleagues/strangers about my pet rabbits and how they live in a corner of my living room, i’m often met with perplexed looks of distaste and confusion as the mental deliberation of where my two bunnies might go to the toilet begins.

Some are too polite to ask. They just assume that i live in squalor and feel too embarrassed to point this out to me.

Others however, probe me curiously – ‘don’t they just poo and wee everywhere?!’

The answer is of course, no!

How To Littertrain Your Rabbit

Rabbits are habitual and clean creatures by nature, so once they have found a place they like to go -they will carry on going there. Placing a litterbox in their chosen toilet area will lead them to associate going to the toilet with their box (so you can eventually move things around a bit, if for example you have an open space such as mine).

 

littertrain rabbit

©MyCottonTales

 

Interestingly, rabbits have a different perspective of urine training and poo pellets. Rabbits use their pellets as a way of marking territory, so if they feel like their space is being constantly invaded, they will leave more pellets on the floor – outside of their litterbox.

Define a living area for your rabbit, such as the corner of a room or a hutch and add a litterbox into a corner. you will also need additional boxes in the rabbit’s extended running space. If they urinate in a corner of the hutch/space not containing the box, move the box to that corner until they get it right. Once they’re using the box in the hutch, open the door/widen the living space and allow them into the running space. Watch them go in and out on their own. If they head to a corner where there’s no box, or lift up their tails in the characteristic fashion of bunny weeing, say “no” in a single, firm sharp burst of sound – NEVER HIT YOUR RABBIT.

 

littertraining rabbit

 

 

Gently herd your rabbit back to their cage and litterbox, or into one of the boxes in their room. Be careful, however. You don’t want to make the cage or the litterbox seem like punishment. A handful of hay in the box makes it a more welcoming place. After your rabbit first uses the box, praise them and give them a favorite treat. Once they use the box in their room a couple of times, you’re well on your way, as your rabbit’s habits will be on their way to forming.

As they get better trained in their first room, you can increase the space. Don’t hurry this process. And if the area becomes very big, or includes a second floor, be sure to include more litterboxes, so as not to confuse them. Remember, as they become more confident and use fewer boxes, you can start to remove some of the early, “training” boxes. Get your rabbit into a daily routine and try not to vary it. Rabbits are very habitual and once a routine is established, they usually prefer to stick with it.

 

littertrain rabbit

 

 

Any questions, please leave a comment below 🙂

  • Kimba

    My bunny pees in his litter trays, but won’t poo in them. He mostly leaves piles of poo right beside the tray, or else scatters them as he runs around. (Although he’s recently been neutered and I notice much less scattered poo – so I’m assuming he’s not feeling as territorial now) How do we get him to poo in his tray?

    • Hello! Well done that’s great news that he’s peeing in the litter tray. If he was only recently neutered then chances are he still has some hormones in his system which may mean he drops a couple of poos now and then! Do you put hay in the litterbox? I find my buns like to munch while they poop so I tend to put some treats and lots of fresh hay in their litter boxes. When I first got Beatrix (who wasn’t trained and who I adopted later than the other two) she used to eat her hay but sit just outside the litterbox and leave little piles of poo right next to it. I would sit with her and push her into the box and give her a treat and also ended up getting a much bigger box. The buns now have two litterboxes in their area and are 90% good at using it. They will occasionally still poo outside the box in their area but never poo in ‘my territory’ i.e. the rest of the house.I also find my buns are very particular about the cleanliness of their box. The dirtier it becomes the more they’ll poop outside in protest so I change it regularly. I hope this helps, let me know how it goes! x x x x

  • kayla

    I’ve tried everything to get my bunny to stop using the bath room all over my bed but he doesn’t seem to get it. He constantly goes in one corner of my bed and a place behind my door. I’ve thought about litter training him but space is compromised in my house. I wouldn’t know the first thing about training him either.

    • Oh no Kayla that’s so frustrating! Is he neutered?
      One thing you should try is get a pen and keep him in a small area for a while with a litter box. let him claim that area as his own territory so he doesn’t think that he owns the entire room. if he is going behind your door that may be a good place to keep him?
      He’s so cute!