Any ideas to help with litter training? (Would be much appreciated ❤️)

Help Support RabbitsOnline:

Igot4buns

New Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2021
Messages
3
Reaction score
4
Location
London
Hello,

I am a new time bunny owner and I have four new bunnies that I am having trouble litter training. They are Oculus, Nova, Jimithy (Jim) and Bowie they are 4 months and have been spayed/neutered within the last two weeks. I adopted them in February and have introduced litter training right away. My bunnies are free roam and I have mats, hide places, toys etc. set up for them in one half of my living room. I use an under bed storage container that I put pee pads with a small amount of paper litter and then cover it with Timothy hay. On the wall behind the container I hung hay feeders. I have been cleaning accidents soaking urine with a bit of paper and placing it in the litter pan and placing poop their too and wiping any pee areas with vinegar water. They had a blanket they kept using so I put it under the container and this has helped.

So Jim will sometimes use the litter pan to pee and I give him head pets/back scratches (whatever is preferred) or sometimes a piece of apple when he does so. The other three will happily go into the pan to eat/rest/play but when they have to go they get out and find another spot and then go back in to eat. They will typically go in the bedroom and near the front door, sometimes in their play area. I have placed other litter pans in these areas but they refuse to use them going as far as pushing them out of the way so they can pee where they want (I personally think this is really funny and I love them to bits but they can’t pee wherever they want forever 😁). They will also pee on my bed and on me. I’ve watched YouTube videos that have suggested picking up and placing my bunnies into the pan just before or immediately after the pee and I have been doing this with Jim, Nova, and Oculus however Bowie has had some trauma in her past home and I will not pick her up for her sake I want them to all be comfortable and safe. If anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it! (I’ve also included a picture of my litter pan set up with Bowie, Jim and Nova)
 

Attachments

Blue eyes

Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 19, 2012
Messages
8,198
Reaction score
5,184
Location
Arizona, USA
You've got more than just litter training going on!

For starters, you have 4 rabbits that are newly neutered. It can take 6-8 weeks past surgery for those hormones to fully dissipate. Until then, litter training can be hit or miss.

Second, you have 4 rabbits. That means they will be competing for territory and staking claim to certain areas by going potty in those areas.

Third, they've been given a large space before their potty habits have been consistent. These random "accidents" everywhere will make it all the more difficult to make them "un-learn." It is much easier to start them out with proper habits then to try to reverse course and get them to stop something they've already started.

So, what to do? It will be a bit more difficult now since they've been allowed to potty wherever. As mentioned, it's much easier to start on the right foot. This just means that the process will take a bit longer than it would have.

Let's start with litter setup. Your current setup is okay but could be slightly improved. Here is a link that shows an ideal setup for a litter box.

Next is limits. Normally one will confine a rabbit(s) to a limited space to potty train. In that space, the only "soft" place is the litter box. There can be toys and hide areas in the space, but no blankets, beds, or other soft areas. (they tend to like to potty where it's soft) In your case, this will be a matter of finding that sweet spot. Since you have 4 rabbits, the space needs to be large enough to accommodate them all and provide separate hidey-type areas. You may need to provide 2 litter boxes. The key is to not make it so large that they potty outside the box, but also not too small that they start to scuffle among each other. (It's amazing that they are all getting along to begin with.)

Once that space is setup, they remain in that confined space until they are absolutely consistent with their potty habits. Occasional poos are not a worry. But they should be urinating 100% of the time in the litter box.

Once they are consistent for a good week or so, then the roaming space can be slowly expanded. Offering too much space too soon will only encourage them to revert to their current habits. So expand the space in increments and only after they've shown consistency in returning to potty in the box.
 

Igot4buns

New Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2021
Messages
3
Reaction score
4
Location
London
You've got more than just litter training going on!

For starters, you have 4 rabbits that are newly neutered. It can take 6-8 weeks past surgery for those hormones to fully dissipate. Until then, litter training can be hit or miss.

Second, you have 4 rabbits. That means they will be competing for territory and staking claim to certain areas by going potty in those areas.

Third, they've been given a large space before their potty habits have been consistent. These random "accidents" everywhere will make it all the more difficult to make them "un-learn." It is much easier to start them out with proper habits then to try to reverse course and get them to stop something they've already started.

So, what to do? It will be a bit more difficult now since they've been allowed to potty wherever. As mentioned, it's much easier to start on the right foot. This just means that the process will take a bit longer than it would have.

Let's start with litter setup. Your current setup is okay but could be slightly improved. Here is a link that shows an ideal setup for a litter box.

Next is limits. Normally one will confine a rabbit(s) to a limited space to potty train. In that space, the only "soft" place is the litter box. There can be toys and hide areas in the space, but no blankets, beds, or other soft areas. (they tend to like to potty where it's soft) In your case, this will be a matter of finding that sweet spot. Since you have 4 rabbits, the space needs to be large enough to accommodate them all and provide separate hidey-type areas. You may need to provide 2 litter boxes. The key is to not make it so large that they potty outside the box, but also not too small that they start to scuffle among each other. (It's amazing that they are all getting along to begin with.)

Once that space is setup, they remain in that confined space until they are absolutely consistent with their potty habits. Occasional poos are not a worry. But they should be urinating 100% of the time in the litter box.

Once they are consistent for a good week or so, then the roaming space can be slowly expanded. Offering too much space too soon will only encourage them to revert to their current habits. So expand the space in increments and only after they've shown consistency in returning to potty in the box.


Fantastic thank you! I was actually looking at buying the c and c grids to have a separate area for them when friends come over. And I was also thinking about territorial marking however they have all bonded well and Jim is dominate in the group so wherever he goes to the bathroom the other will follow. I’m not sure if this is territorial behaviour or not but it’s different from what I’ve read online and the videos I’ve watched. And I didn’t realize it would take around 6-8 weeks for the hormone levels to go down - my veterinarian told me 2-4 weeks. 6-8 weeks would make more sense. Thank you so much I will take your advice and check out the link🙂
 

JBun

Jenny - Health & Wellness Mod
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
Joined
Sep 10, 2012
Messages
9,492
Reaction score
4,375
Location
Utah, , USA
Territorial marking will still be driven by their hormones right now, even though they are all bonded and getting along. You are actually quite lucky that you were able to bond them so early after neutering. You must have got it done just in time before they became too hormonal. 6-8 weeks is a max estimation for hormones to fade. It's also the recommended wait time if they'll be around unspayed does, as they can still sometimes be fertile this long.

With my neutered bucks, I usually start seeing a slight decrease in hormones around 2 weeks, but usually 3-4 weeks is when I've noticed the most significant decrease where they aren't always needing to exhibit hormonal behavior. So 3 weeks is probably when you'll start seeing a more noticeable improvement... hopefully. Keep in mind though, with larger rabbit groups like you have, some poop marking may still occur even after the hormones have faded. But how much or even if it does, just depends on your individual rabbits.
 

Latest posts

Top