The Comprehensive Guide on How To Litter Train a Rabbit

Last Updated : May 7, 2021
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Yes, you read the title of this blog post right…

Pet bunny rabbits CAN be litter box trained. 🐇🚽📦

Just be prepared to work hard and be a little bit flexible…

Your efforts will be worth it, big time!

To help make your job easier, we’ve pulled together this complete guide to getting your rabbit to use a litter box. You’ll discover a simple six-step process (that works!) and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about litter box training.

Now let’s get potty training!

How To Litter Train a Rabbit. The Six-Step Process To Litter Training

Step 1: Get the Right Supplies

‘By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail’ — Benjamin Franklin

We can’t be 100% sure if Mr. Franklin had a litter-trained rabbit or not, but these words of wisdom ring true for the task at hand…

You won’t be able to litter train your rabbit without the necessary supplies!

Here’s what you need:

1. A Litter Box

Not a big surprise — first things first, you need to source a litter box for your rabbit!

There’s a wide variety of options available:

  • A specially designed litter box for rabbits
  • A simple cat litter box with low sides (excellent for larger rabbits)
  • A corner litter pan (great for small and dwarf rabbits)
  • A covered cat litter box with a transparent lid (the top choice if your rabbit scatters litter like a mad bun or if they poop and pee just outside the box)

If you need help picking the right one, make sure to check out our article on the six best liter boxes of 2021!

Next on the shopping list:

2. Litter

What type of litter do we suggest for your new box?

  1. Paper-based litter — either pellets or pulp (like this great option )
  2. Untreated aspen shavings (like these ones )

Note: If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we may receive a commission but at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Both choices are absorbent, bunny-safe, comfortable, and capable of covering the pungent odor of rabbit urine.

Definitely AVOID these three options as they’re toxic to rabbits:

  1. Clay-based litter
  2. Clumping cat litter
  3. Cedar or pine shavings/pellets (unless they’re kiln-dried)

3. Hay

Surprising news:

Rabbits snack and poop at the same time.

This means you’ll need to place some fresh hay in their litter boxes —we suggest Timothy  for adults and Alfalfa  for babies and nursing does.

And, by the way, don’t forget to change their hay daily to avoid it getting soiled and moldy!

4. Cleaning Supplies

You’ll be cleaning your bunny’s litter box at least once a week, which means you’ll need a couple of supplies on hand.

We recommend:

  • White vinegar for rinsing out urine odor and tough stains
  • Club soda for cleaning up accidents outside their litter box
  • A tough, pet-safe enzymatic cleaner like Nature's Miracle  for removing dried urine

5. A Couple of Optional Accessories

A Hard Plastic Chair Mat

It’s great at protecting your floors from spillover around your rabbit’s litter box or cage — try one like this product !

A Rabbit Pen

You may want to use a rabbit pen to limit the area your rabbit has access to — it’s helpful when you first start training them to use a litter box!

A Hay Feeder

It’s a great idea to place a hay feeder right next to your pet rabbit’s litter pan — the yummy hay will help persuade your rabbit to use the litter box!

Step 2: Prepare and Place the Litter Box

Follow this process to prep the perfect bathroom area for your bunny rabbit:

  1. Start by rinsing and cleaning your new litter box.
  2. Make sure its sides are low enough for your rabbit — if not, cut out a doorway on one side.
  3. Consider placing recycled paper, old newspaper, or an absorbent training pad at the bottom of the pan to protect it from excess urine.
  4. Add a shallow layer of litter — approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm).
  5. Put a few pellets of your rabbit’s poop and a paper towel with some absorbed urine in the box.
  6. Place a couple of handfuls of hay directly on top of the litter (or in a hay feeder if you have one).
  7. Position the finished box in one of the corners of your rabbit’s cage, hutch, or living area.
  8. Pay close attention to your bunny over the next couple of days. Be quick to compromise and move the box if your rabbit decides that a different corner is their bathroom!

Step 3: Confine Your Rabbit

Now that you’re all set up and your rabbit litter box is in precisely the right place, it’s time to start training your fluffy little pet!

This step is all about developing good potty habits in a limited space.

This means you should keep your rabbit in their cage/enclosure for the vast majority of the day, allowing them to get accustomed to using the box in their favorite corner.

How can you speed this step up?

  • Pick up any stray bunny droppings and place them in the litter box.
  • Give your rabbit a tasty treat if you notice them using the litter box.
  • Don’t get angry or punish your rabbit — they won’t make the connection!

Once your rabbit is consistently using the litter box in this small area, you can move on to:

Step 4: Give Your Rabbit More (but Limited & Supervised) Freedom

Your bunny is ready for more responsibility.

Confidently let your rabbit out of their enclosure, so they can roam, jump, run, and binky all about!

BUT:

Don’t give them free rein to your house just yet!

Limit the amount of space they can frolic in, and closely supervise them when they enjoy their newfound liberty.

How?

Either use a puppy pen to section off a part of your house, or put them (and their cage) in a small, sealed-off room —the important thing is that they still have easy access to their litter box!

Whenever you notice that your rabbit is about to go potty somewhere they’re not supposed to (they’ll back up and slightly lift their tail), gently herd them back to their cage and litter box.

Once they’ve done the deed, praise your pet rabbit with cuddles, sweet words, a toy, and/or a small treat.

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t punish them or scream at them; you’ll just slow down the potty training process.

Simply accept that accidents may happen, clean them up, and positively reinforce your rabbit the next time they’re good!

Extra tip:

When your rabbits are out and about, you can make their return journey even sweeter if you put a little treat in their litter box!

Step 5: Slowly Increase Their Privileges

As soon as your rabbit develops a strong preference for their box, you can gradually increase their living/exercise space until they have full access to the area that’ll be their ‘kingdom’ (it could even be your entire house).

If your home has plenty of rooms (or floors), you may want to consider adding one or more litter boxes in various parts of the house.

Why?

No matter how good your rabbit’s habits have become, out of sight is out of mind when nature is calling!

Follow the same ‘detective’ process as before and place the extra litter boxes in the corners your rabbit naturally chooses as their second or third bathrooms.

And don’t forget to keep praising your pet bunny whenever you see them take care of their business in one of their litter boxes. They’ll really like the positive reinforcement!

Step 6: Keep Their Litter Boxes Clean

You wouldn’t want to use a dirty bathroom, so don’t expect your rabbit to!

You need to make sure to keep your rabbit’s boxes nice and clean, or else you may even end up sabotaging your litter training efforts.

What’s expected of you?

Daily

  • Spot clean the litter box—leave a few poops behind as a reminder that that’s the toilet!
  • Replace their hay

Once or twice a week

  • Do a full litter box cleanup— dump all its contents and clean it properly with white vinegar, a good bunny-safe disinfectant, and plenty of warm water!
  • Refill the box with clean litter and fresh hay

Extra Optional Step: Hold a Refresher Course on Using the Litter Box

Your pet rabbit may start to forget to use the litter box a little bit too often…

This is usually the case when rabbits are overwhelmed with freedom!

Don’t panic:

Your rabbit hasn’t forgotten everything — they’re just too busy enjoying themselves!

Simply go back to Step 4 and try limiting their freedom and space again until they’re back to their old, potty-trained selves!

At that point, you can move on to Step 5 again, but take it very gradually:

Slowly give them more and more time outside their ‘potty-training area’ until you can trust them to roam around freely again!

Rabbit Litter Training FAQs

If you have any burning questions or doubts about litter training your rabbit, this is the section for you!

Does It Matter How Old My Pet Rabbit Is?

Yes!

Older rabbits usually are easier to train than younger bunnies because they:

  • Don’t need to use the bathroom as often.
  • Have more developed brains and longer attention spans.
  • Have a stronger natural urge for cleanliness.

Does Spaying/Neutering My Rabbit Make Any Difference?

Yes, again!

As soon as a rabbit starts to hit puberty (at 3-6 months old), they’ll get an unruly desire to mark their territory with their urine and/or feces — not ideal when their territory includes your furniture!

Make sure to get your rabbit spayed/neutered, as it’ll help stop this behavior as well as reducing the risk of other health problems (like cancer)!

What Common Litter Training Mistakes Should I Avoid?

  1. Not paying close enough attention to your rabbits when they’re out of their cage — if they sneak a little pee or poo, they’ll quickly develop bad habits!
  2. Rushing your rabbit through the six-step process. Rabbits aren’t the fastest learners in the world, and they won’t appreciate the extra pressure you put on them.
  3. Punishing rabbits for accidents — it doesn’t help, and it’s terrifying for your rabbit!
  4. Being as stubborn as your rabbit — try to be as flexible as possible and let your rabbit pick where they want to keep their litter box.

Final Remarks on How To Litter Train a Rabbit

Congratulations on making it to the end of this guide!

You’re now 100% ready to litter train your fluffy little rabbit…

Just remember the six-step process:

  1. Get all the right supplies before starting.
  2. Prep your litter box and place it in the right corner (listen to your bunny!).
  3. Confine your rabbit until they regularly use the box.
  4. Allow your rabbit limited, closely-supervised freedom.
  5. Slowly increase their privileges (and potentially the number of litter boxes) until they have full access to their ‘kingdom.’
  6. Keep all the litter boxes nice and clean.

And success will be yours! 🐇⭐

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