Millennium Post

Training your bunny

As a pet owner, you must train your little companion at a tender age – for old habits die hard and can become a cause for concern later

Training your bunny

How do I litter train my rabbit?

You can litter-train your bunny but, spaying or neutering must come first. It is almost impossible to litter train an unspayed or unneutered rabbit. If you let the rabbit free in the house immediately, be prepared to have him consider your house as one very large litter box. Once this habit is established, it is very hard to change.

By nature, rabbits choose one or a few places (usually corners) to deposit their urine and most of their pellet like feces. Urine-training involves little more than putting a litterbox where the rabbit chooses to go. Pill training requires only that you give them a place they know will not be invaded by others.

Provide a small cat litter box (or a few) with low sides and no top. You can also use a shallow storage tub. Cut a doorway in one of the sides if it's too tall. Don't bother with the corner litter boxes advertised for bunnies, as they are too small. For litter, use recycled paper litter such as old newspapers. This litter will neutralise any unpleasant urine odours. Do not use clay-based or clumping litter as this is harmful to rabbits' respiratory systems. Avoid wood shavings as well. Stay away from litters made from softwoods, like pine or cedar shavings or chips, as these products are thought to cause liver damage in rabbits who use them.

Put a thin layer of litter at the bottom of the litter box – just enough to absorb wetness. There's no need to fill it too high since rabbits don't bury their droppings like cats. Plus, when you clean the litter box, you dump the entire content out each time. So, you will unnecessarily go through a lot of litter if you deeply fill the box each time. Clean litterboxes often, to encourage your rabbit to use them. Use vinegar to rinse boxes out – for tough stains, let pans soak.

If accidents occur outside the box, mop up urine with a paper towel and pick up stray poop and place both in the litter box. This helps get the message across that the litter box is the place that they should do their business. Keep in mind that rabbits are generally not 100 per cent perfect with their litter box. Sometimes they leave a few droppings next to the box, or they urinate over the edge of their box. This is normal, so placing a plastic mat under their litter box or putting the litter box on a tile floor makes it easier to clean up.

If you can see they're about to go outside their litter box (they may lift their tail or sometimes they sort of shimmy down in a seated position right before they go), try to pick them up and put them in the litter box or corral them in.

If your bunny is insistent on going in one corner of the room, sometimes it's easier to give in to their stubbornness, and place a litter box in that corner. Sometimes when rabbits consistently choose another place to go, they are trying to tell you that that's where they want to go. If your rabbit is pooping/spraying pee everywhere, this is probably due to your rabbit marking his territory.

(Views expressed and information provided are personal. Send your questions to

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