Housetraining your pet rabbit may feel like a daunting task. However, rabbits can be litter-trained.
Rabbits are playful and rambunctious. They’re fun, cuddly pets and can be great companions. However, their curious and sometimes skittish nature can make housetraining a time-consuming task.
But, with patience, it is possible. As a rabbit owner, it’s important to know that litter training will differ depending on your bunny. If you try one method and it doesn’t work, don’t give up completely. Try something else.
Different rabbits will respond differently to different training methods. But, there are certain things you can do that can make litter training your rabbit easier.
Now, let’s get into how to litter train rabbits.
How to litter train rabbits
Now that we know it can be done, let’s get you and your pet bunny set up for success with litter training.
- Litter box. You can either buy a litter box or get another container (usually plastic is easiest to clean) to use as a litter box. When looking for a litter box, you’ll want it to be large enough for your rabbit to be able to move around. You also want it to be accessible and easy to access for your bunny. This means that your litter box needs to have at least one low edge for your bunny to jump over.
- Litter. Alright, now you’ve got to fill your litter box with some actual litter. If you use absorbent litter pellets, you can spread them on the bottom layer of the litter box. Again, you could make your own litter by recycling old newspapers. Just shred it up and lay it down.
- Hay. Rabbits love hay. Where you place your hay is up to you, but rabbits will be naturally drawn to chewing on hay. Yes, even when going to the bathroom. You can place your hay either directly in the pen or next to it in a hay feeder.
- Cage or playpen. This will depend greatly on where your rabbit spends most of its time. You’ll want to put the litter box either in its cage or in some other “confined” area such as a playpen. If you want your rabbit to have free roaming privileges, work up to that. Start small first to make the training easier for everyone.
Litter Training Steps
1. Set up your litter box.
Decide where you’d like your litter box to live. You need to decide if it will be in your rabbit’s cage or in another part of your home where your bunny spends its time.
Once you’ve found its spot, it’s time to set it up. Lay down the pellets or newspaper shavings. If you’ve decided to use something else for litter, that’s OK. There are many options available to you. Just make sure that it’s absorbent and non-toxic.
After that, place your hay. You can layer the entire pen with hay, place it to one side, or put it in a different feeder off to the side of the litter box. That’s up to you. But, the hay is an essential part of the litter training process as rabbits love to chew it.
2. Let your bunny meet its litter box.
You can do this in a couple of ways. But food and some sort of reward are vital components.
Try placing your rabbit in the litter box and giving it treats to encourage it to be in that space. The hay that you’ve placed either in or around the box will keep it there longer.
3. Get your rabbit to use the litter box.
Now the real fun begins. If you see your rabbit going to the bathroom outside of the litter box (if it’s free-roaming), gently lift your rabbit into the litter box to encourage it to go in there.
You can also try to encourage your rabbit to use the litter box by placing your rabbit’s excrement or cleaned-up urine in the litter box so that it knows where to go. When you see your rabbit go to the bathroom somewhere else, clean up the urine with a paper towel, pick up the droppings, and place them all in the litter box so that your rabbit knows that is where it goes.
This process will take time and patience. Try to stick with it and, over time, it will eventually stick.
4. Clean the litter box.
This is important. To make sure your rabbit keeps using its litter box, keep it clean.
Unlike cats, rabbits won’t bury their mess. You’ll need to clean its litter box frequently. That means emptying it, cleaning it out, and then filling it with fresh pellets and possibly hay, depending on your preference.
Rabbit House training Tips
Here are some other things to keep in mind to make the housetraining process go more smoothly.
Spay or neuter
The biggest and most important tip in litter training is to make sure that your rabbit is spayed or neutered. Why? Well, unneutered or unspayed rabbits will often spray or mark their territory in many places.
If you haven’t spayed or neutered your rabbit, once it is 4-6 months old and hormones are running rampant, they’ll start marking their territory everywhere. That’s why this is the most important first step of litter training.
Age will also make a difference in training. Older rabbits are easier to train. They have a better attention span. However, you’ll probably want to litter train your rabbit when it’s young. Just know that they will be playful and all over the place. Have patience.
Multiple litter boxes
If your rabbit spends its time in many different places, use multiple litter boxes. Place one in the litter box and one in its favorite room where you love to let it roam free. Multiple litter boxes aren’t a problem.
Rabbits aren’t quite up to par with cats when it comes to using their litter boxes. They may miss sometimes. That’s OK; you just have to be prepared for a bit of mess near the litter box.
Place a plastic cover (or your cover preference) underneath the litter box but also larger than the litter box. This will protect the area from any overflow that may happen from the box.
How long does it take to litter train a rabbit?
Nowadays, it seems as though we are always too busy and have less patience. We log into an app for groceries, dates, banking, etc. Housetraining your rabbit isn’t going to see an instantaneous payoff.
The process will take time. But, don’t give up on your bunny. Every pet rabbit will be different, so there isn’t exactly one timeline that will work for every rabbit.
However, in general, rabbits will take about 1-2 weeks to be litter trained. Rabbits thrive on routine and inherently seek it. They will tend to go to the bathroom in the same place. So if you can get them to go in their litter box (or move their litter box to where they’re going to the bathroom), then you’re set.
Litter training your rabbit can be done
Rabbits are one of the easiest pets to litter train. Their inherently clean nature, paired with their desire for routine, makes them ideal pet candidates for a litter box.
If done correctly, your rabbit could be housetrained in as little as one week. But, remember that all rabbits have different personalities. You may have one that is very docile and another that is stubborn.
Have patience and stick with it and you will be able to get your rabbit litter trained in no time.