I have to admit that when I first decided to litter train rabbits I was unsure how it was going to go. I had only ever had dogs at that point and one outdoor rabbit when I was very young, so I didn’t exactly know what to expect. I finally bit the bullet and decided that I was going to learn about potty training rabbits and I’m so glad that I did!
Litter training rabbits is not a simple task but it is the most efficient way to keep their home (and yours) sanitary and comfortable.
These are just some easy tips for how to litter train rabbits. I know many people search for this info before they have rabbits. I sort of started out the other way around. When I got my first rabbit it was a surprise. I didn’t really have time to do much research so I was thrown into that as soon as I brought Charlie home!
I was lucky, Charlie is very smart and males (in my now somewhat extensive experience) are much easier to litter train. If you are planning to start potting training rabbits these tips will help you get started and be successful.
How to Litter Train Rabbits | Litter Training Rabbits
Some of the things you will need include a litter pan, we love these but these work as well. Litter pellets, paper, or shavings for in the litter pan, and I recommend a scoop kit like this one for keeping everything clean and tidy.
Selecting a Litter Pan and Location
This is very important. If you are going to litter train rabbits you need to select the right kind and the right location for your litter pan. This will change depending on if you let your bunny out all the time, build them an enclosure, or keep them in a cage. All of these options are fine, trust me as long as you are spending quality time and allowing them to exercise sufficiently, your rabbit will not mind. If you allow them to run around the house freely you will need to choose a location that is safe, secure, and somewhat close to their feeding area. Rabbits will do a majority of their business right where they are eating if you train them properly. One of our newer additions, Ramona, is a huge Californian who sits in her litter box to graze on hay. When she is eating hay she does her business. This naturally encourages her to go back to that spot to not only eat but to also use the litter box.
If you keep your rabbit in a cage you will want to put the litter pan in the corner of their cage where you notice they are already going to the bathroom. They are very habitual creatures and they will likely use the same corner forever once they choose one. This is a simple case of replacing the corner with a litter pan.
When selecting the litter pan make sure you choose one that is large enough. Think of how uncomfortable and messy it would be for you to use a potty training potty your whole life. They need room to turn around, properly do their business, and not have it spray over the sides or back. If you have large breed rabbits I’d suggest you look into a cat litter pan that is high sided or corner shaped, we use a corner box for Ramona and she loves the extra space. I’ve had far less messes this way. Sometimes the actual litter boxes that are recommended for potty training rabbits are just too small for these larger breeds.
Help Them Learn
Rabbits are very smart creatures. Litter training rabbits is quite easy in most cases. If you are trying to litter train an adult rabbit it can be more difficult. In both cases you want to help them learn how to use their litter box. If you have selected a different area than the one they have chosen to do their business in, scoop up the droppings and place them into the litter pan. I’d highly suggest moving the litter box to their chosen area as this will make the process much simpler. If that’s not an option make sure you are diligent about moving their droppings to the litter box and cleaning, sanitizing, and deodorizing the other location each time it is used.
This helps the rabbits learn to go back to the scent of their previous droppings and use the designated area instead of just willy nilly wherever they please 🙂
In most cases if you simply keep moving their droppings to their litter pan they will get the hint and use it on their own. In some cases, and in some stubborn rabbits, it can be more difficult. In those tough cases I would highly suggest putting their litter pan under their hay feeder. Hang the hay up a bit, make sure they have to fully jump into their litter area in order to eat, and if possible set their water bottle up in that area as well. The more time they spend in that area the more likely they are to even just accidentally do their business right there!
Choose the Right Litter
When litter training rabbits you might be temped to use cat litter because it seems like a sensible choice. The only issue with that is the cat litter is kind of dusty and fine. When rabbits (who are not quite as nimble as cats) jump into and out of the litter it makes a mess. I have had great success with palletized horse bedding like this. I don’t expand it. I just put the pellets in their litter pans and then when they urinate on the pellets they expand, trap the scent, and also keep the box dry. It’s a great solution for rabbits so they don’t end up dragging around the droppings, dust, etc.
Other options for short haired rabbits include bedding chips and bedding paper. These are great litter box fillers but for long haired rabbits like our Charlie and Lola, this means a matted mess and LOTS of trimming/brushing. Keep in mind that whatever you use in your litter pans will need to be changed ever few days. This is why I try and find economical solutions because you will quite literally be throwing that money away.
Disposal of Soiled Litter
If you have just one or even two rabbits disposal of soiled litter is not a big deal. Much like with cats or dogs or even small pet bedding, you can simple bag it up and throw it away. If you are like me and have many animals including small animals and rabbits, you will need to find a disposal method that is both safe, environmentally friendly, and legal. Make sure you know the regulations in your area. We have a recycling and fertilizing plan in place for our droppings because we have the space and the ability to do so. If you plan to do something similar you will want to use a more natural litter box filler.
Litter training rabbits is rewarding because it makes it easier for them to live close with their humans and in doors. This was one reason I wanted to learn how to litter train rabbits. I wanted my bunnies to be able to live indoors and roam freely without making too much of a mess or making the house smell too bad.
Sorry for the poppy images 😉 but I wanted to give you an idea of the different set ups that you can use. This guy is a nibbler so we often have to change his litter pan out for a new one!
Once I got a handle on what to use, how to train them, and what to do with the droppings it was pretty much smooth sailing for how to litter train rabbits.
Please feel free to leave any questions below and I’ll answer them to the best of my ability! I’d love to hear what solutions you’ve come up with for litter training rabbits as well!