Carolyn Crampton name

litter box training


How do you house train a bunny ?

Bunnies train themselves in the kitty box.

The box has to be put where the bunny wants to pee. It should be in a corner, possibly under a chair or somewhere there is privacy. For your convenience it should be on a floor you can wipe up. You can also use a piece of plywood, plexi, metal or vinyl (keep the animal from eating the vinyl which could kill him. Nail wood around the edges of the vinyl).

There is no foolproof way to litter train a bunny. I give our rabbits a treat whenever they jump out of the box—or you could do it while they are in the box—they begin to expect it. Rabbit raisins or ‘pills’ are a fact of life. Some pellets get eaten later (which is why I titled my book "Art you going to eat that?").

Learning the litter box takes just 3 or 4 days. Very easy. When at home, let the rabbit free around a small area, supervised. Every 30 to 45 minutes put the rabbit in the litter box and stay near to prevent him or her from jumping out. Bunny should stay in for a couple of minutes. Usually they will do some of the 'business' and if not let them hop some more. Then again into the litter box. They soon understand. At night, until they learn, they sleep in a cage with a litter box. In just a few days, voila. My rabbits do about 95% of the droppings, in the box and all of the urine goes in the litter box.

If there are problems:

  1. Is his cage/box dirty? Keep it clean.
  2. Is he getting old / sick?
  3. Put a litter box where he's going. Rabbits like privacy and a safe location. Inside closets, under chairs, in corners. Some want covers over the top but most want 2 exits...rabbits won't go in a tunnel with only one exit. Their idea of a good location may not be yours. You may have to start in one location and slowly move it to another location of your choice.
  4. Reward them with a treat whenever they go in the box—while they're in there or right afterwards, when possible.
  5. Put a covering down over the rug that you can just wash, a scrap rug, newspaper, or something.
  6. Sometimes you can't argue with where they want to go—-just put a box down, or else, cover the area with a box or fence or something so they can't even get to it.

litter or shavings?

The House Rabbit Society (HRS) recommends the recycled newspaper litter which is very nice and available at pet stores. I like the paper balls which roll easily out of the kitty box. The House Rabbits Society is strongly against cat litter or cedar shavings. Do not use the clumping kitty litter as rabbits will eat it. Avoid anything with flavor crystals because rabbits might eat them too. Some litter may stick to their feet and get eaten by accident.

litter box in the cage

HRS recommends a box inside of the cage so that the rabbit will stick to the idea of using a kitty box. Yes, it's a pain to clean two things. Have some cardboard in the cage that bunny can sit on. You wouldn't want to sit on wires all day, would you? Those wire cages are inhuman, made for meat animals, not loved ones.

Instead of a cage

Consider a corral in a small area, such as part of the kitchen, with a kitty box inside it. It should be a room you spend a lot of time in. I made a foam core "tunnel" quickly from the bathroom where the area where the box is, to the area where the bunny home is. The rabbits love it and it kept them from scattering pills all over the hall. I keep the cage only in case of emergencies. Consider a larger metal doggy pen from a pet store and this make a nice large enclosure 4 x 6 feet approx.

gentle positive reinforcement

They say you can only train rabbits by positive reinforcement (reward when bunny goes in the box). Clapping or clucking can be effective if you are always there to do it consistently. Some rabbits are very smart and seem to understand human language, but most don't seem to have any idea.

Email questions (put 'rabbits' in subject line please)......... Back to Rabbit Central ......... Back to home

All text and graphics copyright ©1995-2021 by Carolyn Crampton. All rights reserved.