Litter Train Rabbits Easily With These Awesome Tips
Updated: Feb 5
Owners of pet rabbits will always have a special place in my heart. Seriously, do a quick google search and you’ll find some of the coolest people - not to mention the CUTEST bunny pictures. Despite the perfect snapshots though, having a rabbit as a pet has its own obstacles. Bunnies are adorable little things and make for a great cuddly pet, but they also poop a lot - an average of 200 small poops per day, which adds up when your rabbit lives in your house. The good news is, rabbits are super smart and can be litter trained just like other house pets. In this blog post, I'm going to break down the process into easy-to-follow steps.
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My first little bunny hanging out around the house
About 8 years ago, I found the cutest little dwarf rabbit (pictured above) through an online breeder and brought him home. He was so tiny, only about 3 months old and looked like a little marshmallow. It was a really exciting experience being a total rabbit newbie - and also a lot of work to figure out the do's and don'ts of rabbit care. Having a rabbit as an indoor pet was still a relatively new thing at the time, but I found a few websites that helped me out along the way.
Very quickly, I had to figure out what to do with all of the poop. I wanted him to free-roam as much as possible, which resulted in a lot of unwarranted urine spots and droppings in places where they really shouldn’t be. So I did a lot of research and tried out a couple different options. Here is what I found that works:
You'll want to purchase a good plastic litter box - a cat litter box will do fine as long as it’s open enough for your rabbit to jump in easily. This is the litter box I used and you might want to consider an optional litter mat to catch some of the mess.
Stock up on some type of bedding - we used Carefresh for years and it was good for our little bun because we didn't need a lot, but it can also be pretty messy. When we adopted our Flemish mix, we switched to Vitakraft which is a lot less messy and it comes in a bulkier size that lasts us a couple months.
Good Quality Hay - as a rabbit owner, you'll need to stock up on a lot of this anyway. We primarily give our rabbits Timothy hay because it's a healthy "average" type of hay and they can eat a good bit of it without becoming overweight.
**Important note: depending on the size of the area your rabbit is allowed to roam, you may end up needing more than one litter box - for example, if your rabbit goes both upstairs and downstairs, it’s best to have more than one litter box on each floor to prevent accidents**
My not-so-little anymore Flemish mix who is also a professional lounger.
Now we just have to put all those ingredients together and begin litter training:
Choose a place for your litter box - usually in a secluded corner, or an area you’ve noticed your rabbit has used as a bathroom already.
Add the bedding - layer the bottom so that it’s totally covered, but not too deep or your rabbit may end up kicking it everywhere (a little tracking is inevitable - this is where a litter mat will come in handy)
Add a handful of hay - if the litter box is in a corner or against a wall, try to place the hay on the “wall” side, to encourage your rabbit to jump into the box to munch. Rabbits naturally end up eating and pooping at the same time, so voila!
This last step is multiple steps in one. Your rabbit may take a while to learn to go back to the box to do it’s business, so be sure to replace the hay daily and keep the box fairly clean - but don’t overdo it! During the first couple of days it’s very important that your rabbit can recognize its own scent (i.e. poop and urine) in the litter box, which will result in he/she being more likely to return and use it as their private bathroom.
Some of my babies learning how to use the litter box (and how to make a mess!)
Especially in the beginning, there will be accidents outside of the litter box - this is normal - and there are different ways to handle each.
1. For fresh poops - grab a tissue, scoop up the poops, and put them in the litter box. If poops are left on the floor, your rabbit will think it’s perfectly acceptable to go to the bathroom wherever it pleases.
2. For urine - try to clean and sanitize the spot asap. Rabbit urine has a very strong smell, which is bad for both your carpet and your litter training process - if your rabbit can still smell it, there could be repeat accidents - so it’s best to use a strong, pet-safe carpet cleaner.
That's all, you adorable pet rabbit owners - I hope this post helped you out and please feel free to send me a message if you have any questions or comments! Depending on your rabbit, it could take a couple of days or a couple of weeks to fully train him/her to use the litter box, but reinforcing good behaviors and checking the litter box frequently will have a positive impact on the process. Follow these steps and you’ll have a well-trained bunny in no time. Now go post some adorable bunny pics on your social so I can like them! :)
Do you have any tips when it comes to litter training your rabbit? Leave them in the comments, I'd love to hear them!