Teaching your rabbit to use a litter box is not as difficult as you may think. Because rabbits are naturally tidy, they make great candidates for litter box training. It is natural for a rabbit to choose one spot, usually corners, to urinate and leave their droppings. Neutered rabbits are easier to litter train, an un-neutered buck may spray and a female when she gets a little broody will trash her litter tray and dig the contents of her cage to one end or in the case of some of mine a big pile in the middle of the cage with an empty upside litter tray balanced on the top.
Here are some suggestions to train your rabbit to use a litter box. Keep in mind that persistence and patience are essential elements for success. It's best to start litter training your rabbit as soon as possible. Some of our bunnies will leave us already using a litter tray as they have copied their mum.
Having the correct cleaning equipment really will help, not only will it keep your rabbits cage lovely and clean, it will make it so much easier for you. To see our range of cleaning equipment please click here, To see our litter trays its here
To get started, place a litter box in your rabbit's cage in the corner that they most frequently uses as their bathroom. You will find aiding some already soiled litter to the box will help as a hint. If they urinates in a corner of the cage not containing the box, move the box to that corner. You may have to move it a few times before they gets the idea. We find putting a brick at an angle in the corners you do not want them to use helps. Be patient. Just keep removing the wet soiled bedding from the other parts of the cage, give that area a wipe with strong smelling cleaner ( our lavender and Lemon cleaner are good for this) Soon your rabbit will get the idea and begin using the litter box. Getting them to do every single poo -is a lot harder,some of my rabbits do everything in the litter tray others only wee. Either way the urine is the nasty stuff and if you get them doing that-then I would be happy, it will cut down on the amount of cleaning out you have to do as well as protect the hutch.
Will need more supervised training- as you do not want them to get in the habit of weeing outside of their cage or litter box.
Open the cage door and let your rabbit into thier training/play pen. You will need to sit with them to start with, you will get loads of droppings at the beginning as the rabbit will be excited to be out. Allow your rabbit to go in and out of their cage and into the training area on their own, but keep a watchful eye. If you see them backing up, or pushing their back en against a wall, or raising their tail, your rabbit may be getting ready to urinate. Guide them back into her cage or litter box as soon as you notice this behavior. This will help your rabbit realize that they should wee in the cage or litter box. You don't want to make this seem like a punishment, so be gentle and kind. A handful of hay or a few treats in the litter box may encourage them to hop on in.
Once your rabbit is using the litter box in the cage regularly, you can open their area and allow them to free roam but you must watch them to start to make sure they return to the cage to use the bathroom. You should leave your rabbit's cage door open at all times. The ultimate goal is to have your rabbit return to their cage when they needs to "GO." If you need to pop out and can not watch them- return them to the training area. Once you know you can trust them to return on their own- they can be free range. We would advise at night or if you go out that the rabbits are either safely in their cage or in their cage and training area. If you increase the size of her play space too quickly, your rabbit may forget her way back to the cage or litter box.
Try to compromise. If your rabbit continually urinates in a spot where there is no litter box in the training area,put a second litter box where they will use ii. It is much easier to make them happy than to try to work against a determined rabbit. Some rabbits, especially un- neutered males, might mark their territory with urine or droppings. There really isn't much you can do about this. Spaying or neutering will curb this behavior if it's done at an early age. Most male rabbits can be neutered at the age of 10-14 weeks old. Females can be spayed at 6 months old.
Your rabbit sleeps in the litter box
Never discourage your rabbit from being in the litter box, even if it's not for bathroom purposes. Don't be concerned if your rabbit curls up to sleep in the litter box. This is natural. If they prefers to sleep in the litter box, as well as use if for a bathroom, changing the litter every few days. Otherwise, change and clean the litter box at least once a week.
If your rabbit leaves wet droppings outside their cage or litter box, it's most likely due to one of two reasons: If the droppings are very small and stuck together like a little cluster of grapes, these are night droppings or cecotropes- which we call Second droppings, these look different than regular droppings and contain nutrients that your rabbit did not fully digest. Rabbits on the whole will eat these as they produce them, but occasionally you might find a few that your rabbit leaves behind. Generally, you don't need to worry about finding a few second droppings unless you are finding a lot of them. In that event you need to cut down on the amount of feed you are giving the rabbits, you can feed just hay till the droppings return to normal. There is more about this in the "all about poo section"