Understand Your Rabbit’s Nature
Think of baby rabbits (kits) and litter box training the same way you would think about potty-training a child. You would not expect a baby to use the toilet right away. Training them takes time. During that time, they have a lot of accidents. Our job is to be patient and keep the environment clean as they grow and learn.
Barring any medical problems (urinary tract infections, kidney problems, et cetera), rabbits usually take to litter boxes quite easily. Even so, unaltered rabbits (those not yet spayed/neutered) will continue to potty in areas outside the litter box even when there are no medical issues. Finally, rabbits have very small elimination organs, such as the bladder. It is sometimes difficult for them to make it to a litter box. This is particularly true if they are in too big a living area.
Unaltered rabbits are diligent about “marking” their territory by going potty just about everywhere. They do not just do it one time. This is a repetitive cycle and happens even when you clean and sanitize their outside-the-litter-box potty places.
At about four, five or six months old, the territory-marking behavior heightens because their hormones are becoming active. Marking their territory is a strong part of a rabbit’s nature and should never result in any form of discipline. Note: Young, untrained and unaltered rabbits are not a good pet choice for those who will be frustrated with having to be on constant clean-up duty.
Things That Help
Have more than one litter box. Rather than having only one litter box, place several around their living and play space. This gives them plenty of potty-place options and gives them the best chance of making it to the litter box before they have an accident.
Add hay to litter box. Placing a handful of fresh hay inside the litter box (up against one side) encourages good hay-eating habits,
but it also gives them a more natural experience while going potty. Additionally, the hay attracts the rabbit to the litter box. You can also cover the litter entirely with hay. This requires more hay and the need to replace entire litter box contents more frequently (since the rabbit will urinate and deposit its poops directly on the hay). However, choose the method that works best for you and helps your rabbit learn good litter box habits.
Keep litter box clean, but not totally clean. When young Thumper goes potty outside the litter box, pick it up and put it into the litter box. Rabbits have a very strong sense of smell. Keeping its poops in the litter box gives your rabbit a message that this is where I am supposed to go potty. Do this even when you have just done a full cleaning of the litter box. Their potty does not have to be sitting on top the clean litter to smell it.
Remember rabbits are fastidious cleaners and hate dirty or filthy environments. Don’t make your furry friend step on its own urine and waste just to go potty. CLICK HERE for an important, short article (with video demonstration) on the easiest way to establish an excellent litter box cleaning routine. It has saved many a rabbit owner time, money and frustration.
Change litter types. If your rabbit refuses to use the litter box most of the time, try a different litter. Never use clumping litter or made-for-cat litters. For helpful information on litter types, CLICK HERE (article will open in new tab so that you can read it and return here afterward).
Move the litter box. Rabbits are creatures of habit who prefer the same routines, generally speaking. If your bunny goes potty in one place over and over, thoroughly clean that area of flooring and then move the litter box to that location.
Restrict living space. Limit the space your young rabbit has access to. Expand their living environment only after they are altered and you see improvement in their litter box habits. Preventing them from having free roam of your space will decrease your frustration level and preserve your home’s flooring.
Indoor/outdoor carpeting is a great way to make permanent “runs” for pet rabbits if you have slippery flooring in your home. Remember, rabbits need to run, jump and play often during the day/night. Rabbit paws are covered with fur and they have no traction on slippery surfaces! Indoor/outdoor carpet is inexpensive and easy to replace. No installation required.
Please Note: Love Your Rabbit does not support raising rabbits for consumption and/or animal testing and/or science experiments (where the animal is at risk for injury, pain or death).
Copyright 2016, Love Your Rabbit, janabrock.com, Author Jana Brock and Bunny Conversations. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. This is not a veterinary site, nor should any information here be construed as veterinarian advice. Photo credits for this website: Jana Brock. Additional photo credits for some website content: volunteers who contribute to Pixabay.com. All readers, without exception, agree to the terms and conditions of this website. Information is shared under the Fair Use Act. “The “Freedom and Innovation Revitalizing United States Entrepreneurship Act of 2007” (FAIR USE Act) was a proposed United States copyright law that would have amended Title 17 of the U.S. Code, including portions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to “promote innovation, to encourage the introduction of new technology, to enhance library preservation efforts, and to protect the fair use rights of consumers, and for other purposes.” CITED: en.wikopedia,org/wiki online 2016.