Any rabbit owner would agree that rabbits make magnificent pets. They’re adorable, highly intelligent, independent, and clean. They’re kind of like cats, but without the god complex. Also, rabbits can be litter trained! By nature, rabbits tend to choose or a few places to do their business, which makes it really easy to pick up after them. All you have to do is to teach them to use the litter box, and then you’re golden.
You can even teach an old rabbit new tricks! Actually, older rabbits are easier to train than younger rabbits, because a rabbit’s attention span improves as he grows up. If you adopt an older rabbit, you can definitely litter train him. It’s never too late!
While it’s easy to litter train a rabbit, the process requires a lot of time, patience, and attention. We have 5 easy steps for you to follow in order to make the training process as quick and thorough as possible.
1. Have your rabbit spayed or neutered.
That’s the very first thing you need to do. When a rabbit reaches 4 to 6 months, his hormones kick in and he’ll start marking his territory. You can prevent that from happening by having your rabbit spayed or neutered. If that’s not enough to convince you, Rabbit.org has more reasons why you should spay or neuter your rabbit.
2. Keep your rabbit confined to his cage with a litter box.
The best way to show your rabbit the litter box is to keep him near it as much as possible. Observe to make sure that your rabbit is using the box. If he seems to prefer another area of the cage, move the litter box there. Don’t force him to use your preferred area. You can reward him by letting him out of the cage whenever he’s done using the box.
3. Place a second litter box outside of the cage.
Once you’re sure that your rabbit knows exactly what the litter box is for, start letting him out of the cage to explore under close supervision. Place a second litter box within 10 feet of the cage. Encourage him to use it by giving him a lot of praise and possibly a treat. If you see him getting ready to do his business (by backing up with his tail up) outside of the litter box, quickly herd him to the box. Don’t scold or punish him whenever he has an accident. Rabbits respond well to positive reinforcement, so it’s very important to praise him whenever he does his business the correct way.
4. Thoroughly clean the litter boxes once a week.
Rabbits are generally neat freaks. The cleaner the litter boxes are, the better. If they get too dirty, your rabbit might eventually stop using them. While you should scoop up the litter at least every other day, it’d be a good idea to thoroughly clean the boxes once a week. You can hose them down. White vinegar works great, because it kills bacteria and removes odors.
5. Arrange the litter boxes to suit your rabbit’s preferences.
Once your rabbit starts using the litter boxes like a pro, you can start moving the litter boxes around. If your rabbit constantly ignores one of the litter boxes, you can remove that one. If your rabbit seems to prefer a certain corner, you can add another litter box or move one of the existing boxes there. At this point, your rabbit should be experienced enough to adjust to the changes.
Good luck! If you have any more techniques you’d like to add, please feel free to share them with us!