Help! Litter box training nightmare!!

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With my rabbit Lucy who was large we tried multiple things when it came to litter/bathroom. We had a rabbit litter box which was too small, we used a covered cat litter box, a regular litter box, the Morton box which worked great but we ended up having a large cage with a built in pan. It was a pain. I highly preferred the Morton pan. There is a website I am getting my new bunny from and they build litter pans. Basically it is rabbit wire that is secured in a tray placed over/in a typical cat pan. Bailey bunny farm is the name of the website if you want to look. Lucy was really not very well potty trained. She really did best in her large dog crate with an x pen hooked up. I know it stinks but sometimes give things a chance and try something new. I saw a post recent showing a photo near the litter pan before getting “fixed” and a few weeks after and it was a big difference.
 

rabbit_friend

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I would definitely use a lower-sided litter box, especially since the floor outside it is hard and slick. If he isn’t peeing on the puzzle mats, I'd at least put some around the high-sided box. I always worry about pulled or strained muscles and ligaments on slick floors, or worse. Sounds like things are improving, though! My in-bonding bunnies have always had decreased marking as the bond solidifies, so that may help too.
 

MeggyM

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It doesn't look big enough to me, but then some rabbits like smaller ones. So it's just a matter of trying different things until you find the size and set up your rabbit does best with. Here's an example of one of mine in the past. It's plenty big for her to move around in and eat her hay. It's a mortar mixing tray from home depot. It's what I've used for most of my rabbits, though this one is cut low in the front because this rabbit had arthritis. But normally the side is about 6 inches tall and the box was about 20 x 27, which size has always worked well for my rabbits.

9146-fbc16d862503e57efe72b77b4fb5a3f0.jpg


This is the same thing, but doesn't have a side cut low.

View attachment 61932
Yeah I think you're right it it too small for 2 rabbits.
Thanks for the advice!
 

MeggyM

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With my rabbit Lucy who was large we tried multiple things when it came to litter/bathroom. We had a rabbit litter box which was too small, we used a covered cat litter box, a regular litter box, the Morton box which worked great but we ended up having a large cage with a built in pan. It was a pain. I highly preferred the Morton pan. There is a website I am getting my new bunny from and they build litter pans. Basically it is rabbit wire that is secured in a tray placed over/in a typical cat pan. Bailey bunny farm is the name of the website if you want to look. Lucy was really not very well potty trained. She really did best in her large dog crate with an x pen hooked up. I know it stinks but sometimes give things a chance and try something new. I saw a post recent showing a photo near the litter pan before getting “fixed” and a few weeks after and it was a big difference.
Thanks for the site! I love that idea, unfortunately they don't deliver but I have actually ordered a small one off etsy and just used a wire cooking sheet before. Cooking sheet much cheeper! ;) But the one on their website is very ideal with the edges, that part you have to get creative with if using just a wire baking sheet but I do find that the hole size and smoothness of the metal is about the same.
He has been fixed for about 3 months now.
 

MeggyM

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I would definitely use a lower-sided litter box, especially since the floor outside it is hard and slick. If he isn’t peeing on the puzzle mats, I'd at least put some around the high-sided box. I always worry about pulled or strained muscles and ligaments on slick floors, or worse. Sounds like things are improving, though! My in-bonding bunnies have always had decreased marking as the bond solidifies, so that may help too.
Good idea, I can definitely move the puzzle mats for more traction, he hasn't peed on those for quite awhile! I try to at least keep that cardboard box with sand paper glued on top next to it - they appreciate that and it get's them to use the sand paper on their nails a bit. ;)

Things are definitely improving which is such a relief to me so thank you SOOO much for the tips, as you can see, they are totally working!!

He does seem to need to mark anything new in his pen. Sometimes just poop, sometimes pee, even if he is familiar with the object.
Do you think he is just going to have to go through this process until he sees the items as "his"
 
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Thanks for the site! I love that idea, unfortunately they don't deliver but I have actually ordered a small one off etsy and just used a wire cooking sheet before. Cooking sheet much cheeper! ;) But the one on their website is very ideal with the edges, that part you have to get creative with if using just a wire baking sheet but I do find that the hole size and smoothness of the metal is about the same.
He has been fixed for about 3 months now.
That is a good idea. I went to Boomgars (farm type store) and found that particular metal cloth. It is very low cost.
 

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That is a good idea. I went to Boomgars (farm type store) and found that particular metal cloth. It is very low cost.
Oh wow, cool, I didn't know you could get it like that. It's cloth? Is it firm, like coated metal that will support a rabbit if you attached some sort of edging underneath to prop it up like the one you're getting?
 

rabbit_friend

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As far as marking any “new” objects even if they are familiar, it may be the object has been chinned by the other bunny, though my bunnies tend to just chin it themselves rather than peeing on it 🙂. I generally make sure I get two of everything so each rabbit has their own and they don't have to share!
 

MeggyM

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As far as marking any “new” objects even if they are familiar, it may be the object has been chinned by the other bunny, though my bunnies tend to just chin it themselves rather than peeing on it 🙂. I generally make sure I get two of everything so each rabbit has their own and they don't have to share!
Hahaha! Yeah I wish chinning was enough for this guy! ;)
I scrub every new object I introduce to his habitat thoroughly, repeat with vinegar and rinse before putting it in there so it doesn't smell like anything or anyone... still he is skeptical! It doesn't help that the things I now need to introduce are soft, such as mats, beds, etc...
Hmm. I'm not sure how having 2 of everything would go with these 2. Clove always investigates and uses everything so they really have no concept of mine vs. yours. Hmmm.
So does this mean he might never stop peeing on the dog's bed's because they will always smell of dog, and therefor become a marking competition? Claimed by Clove, and then my dog just by her scent, then Clove again, etc...?
I have one dog bed I'm trying to get Clove ok with. It's a "cooling water bed" and water proof so good for training. Clove actually has his own tiny one because it's summer in Florida. (Don't worry no toxic gel, just water in both.) Any suggestions here? How do you go about teaching him he has his own, and my dog has hers..?
 

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Update: good news before the bad.
Clove is doing better but I am still limiting him and trying not to give opportunities for accidents.
He has not peed outside the litter box in any random place for a while so I think he’s no longer confused about where is acceptable to pee, which is awesome!
He is still occasionally peeing out of anger or marking, but no longer out of pure spite when I am busy and have to turn down his requests for immediate attention. ;)
I’ve also spent time hanging out in their pen, made some toys 8DDFD5AD-79A9-4DA0-88F1-DB54457A1005.jpeg 5E2939E1-0ABC-4D9A-925D-22F783A98232.jpeg
Exhausted Clove with this puzzle pellet box ;)
and given lots of reinforcement like you said, for peeing in the box, as I can hear when he does... that has totally helped teach him the behavior I’m looking for. :)
Here is their current set up:
B2F9F5B8-6771-4F04-83BA-C2DBB5FABF9C.jpeg
Looks like my deterrents for sitting outside the litter box and eating were not good enough because there was a pile of poop only right outside the box. Surely he pulled one long piece of grass out at a time and ate right there on the mat... Noted! ;)
We are trying to ditch the second litter box but he’s not quite ready yet.
So thank you guys, especially rabbit friend, for helping us out, life is much nicer!

Now back to the problem areas and questions:
I had to wash Clove up after he got into something and he has not been happy today- he ran off and peed on the dog bed and again on his blue water mat in the pic, right after he peed in the litter box...
He sleeps on this mat but he also pees on it... should I keep trying or just remove for now?
I’m trying to get something softer and more comfortable for them to lay on but I know he’s gonna pee on everything that’s at all absorbent...
??
 

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He sleeps on this mat but he also pees on it... should I keep trying or just remove for now?
I’m trying to get something softer and more comfortable for them to lay on but I know he’s gonna pee on everything that’s at all absorbent...
??
If he's peeing on it, yes, remove it for now. Once he's better with using the litter box -- no urine accidents -- then it can be added back in.
 

MeggyM

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If he's peeing on it, yes, remove it for now. Once he's better with using the litter box -- no urine accidents -- then it can be added back in.
Well he hadn't peed outside his litter box for about a week or 2 before I put the bed in. I know that's not long but it also wasn't an accident. So if I wait is he always going to pee on new things? Like I mentioned he use to wake up from a nap and just gotta go, look around unsure of where to go, back up into the nearest thing and pee there. Now I have observed him many times wake up from a nap, or abruptly stop grooming or chewing a toy and hop right in the nearest box and relieve himself, then hop right back out and return to what he was doing. I see this as fantastic progress for him so I assume he is pretty sure of at least where to pee. It is only when he is angry or territorial that he pees right on some new coming object...
 

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Their setup looks awesome now, and that is such good news about how he's doing, especially the stopping what he's doing to go jump in the litter box. That is indeed progress! I wouldn't worry about something softer for them to lie on. My newest bunny (the stray) digs up any soft things to get to the bare floor and lie on that. I think just because it feels cool right now, so yours may not even be interested in lying on anything soft until temperatures come down. So no rush to introduce that. Once it gets colder and they may want to snuggle into something warm, he may take better care of it!

As for the dog bed, can you block off his access with a fence? That would be the best solution, and I'm sure the dog would appreciate it 🙂.
 

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Thanks! It's looking better. :)
Right?! He's totally getting a hang! I cannot thank you enough. Just a month ago he was quite the disaster and although he still needs a lot of watching over, his living space is totally manageable now!

Ha! That's exactly what I was thinking about how he isn't going to want to pee all over something he wants to lay on.
I also thought the same thing about them not wanting something soft because of course they want to cool off, not lie in a warm fuzzy bed with this heat but to my surprise both are always seeking out somewhere soft to rest. They have so much cold floor to lay on that maybe they occasionally want to warm up or just have a change of texture and some padding..? That's the other thing - they have no padding in their space, those puzzle mats are hard PVC and you can see in the picture Clove strangely opts for a thin rubber water bowl mat to flop on. I'm thinking it's similar to how dogs want to lay out in the sun even when it's hot outside. It can be 99 degrees here, AC only at 80, and my dog will ask to be let out only to immediately plop down in the grass. Then when she's all warmed up she returns to the cold floor and the cycle continues. Maybe this is similar? Or maybe they just need some padding...
I put folded towels together in the pen today and have been hovering over Clove and putting him in the litter box when he poops on it. So far no peeing and he has been laying on them. Maybe I'll just start with that...?
He does kick Olive off though. Would this be a good time to give her another towel and if so should I put it next to Clove's or on the other side of the pen? Also what if he tries to mark or lay on hers? Do you teach yours to each have their own things? Do yours use each other's bowls and what not?

I could try blocking off the dog beds, but then my dog wouldn't be free to come and go - that shouldn't be too big a problem while Clove is out though. Do you think this could work to train him to eventually leave the beds alone and show him they are not his??
Yes, I'm sure my Summit would love to have her bed back on the porch!

HA! This is priceless, as I'm typing Clove just returned to his towel bed to find he had left a few poops behind, sniffed at them, looked up at me and licked his lips in dissatisfaction, tried to find a clean place on the towel to lay, and, unsuccessful, reluctantly settled into a loaf!
This is great!!! He is learning to be clean and realizing he doesn't want to sleep on his poop after all!!! I think this is exactly what you meant by him wanting to keep something nice! 😂
 
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rabbit_friend

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Definitely give them two towels, but be careful that they don't chew them. Towels have some nasty strings that can get caught in teeth and worse (make sure there are no holes either). You could put one next to Clove's and another one across the pen and see which setup they prefer. My bunnies like soft things because they can bunch them up and lie with their tummy over them, or their head on them like a pillow. I use fleece throws though, because one of mine will chew towels.

My bonded bunnies have shared everything, but you still want two of everything so that if a bunny temporarily claims one, there is another one to avoid hard feelings. My big bunny claimed my smaller bunny's brown dog stuffy as her own, so he started snuggling with her white lamb stuffy instead. He wasn't really happy about it, and every time she was away from his old stuffy, he relished the chance to cuddle with it. But at least he had an alternative. Sometimes they would both snuggle with one stuffy as a buffer zone between them!

E387E139-8CBD-417C-A6DC-106F3C905687.jpeg 62F30CBE-6B63-4175-8419-31BAF80BA403.jpeg
 

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Sorry for the delayed response but I did try all your suggestions and also now understand the idea of having 2 of everything.
That's so funny about their stuffed animals, and so cute!! :)
 

MeggyM

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We have had quite a set back and I am at a loss yet again.
The buns are shedding a ton, like bunnies do, and with nothing but laminate flooring their fur is going everywhere, sitting on every surface and floating in the air no matter how much I vacuum and clean. So, I am trying to get some sort of rug or mat in there to help catch and hold the fur until it is vacuumed up, but Clover pees on every single new thing I put in their pen, not to mention pooping everywhere again. Sometimes he'll mark even when I just move things around. It is clear he is marking and not doing this on accident because he went weeks without doing so once I taught him to go in his litter box.
I've gathered he needs to mark each new object so many times before he decides everyone knows it's his.
I am really bummed because I was planning to roam him with my female whenever I am home but I see no way of doing this because I just can't trust him... He'd be so much happier if he could roam with his mate hours a day.
What can I do???
Does anyone have any advice or things that have worked for them?
Should I try and put myself above him in the "hierarchy" so he doesn't feel the need to mark everything? Should I try my dog as the next higher up and have us all spend some time in their pen??
Or maybe, despite his laid back confident attitude he still feels uncomfortable and/or insecure in his new home?
He has no interest in hiddie huts and prefers to sprawl out in the open so it's hard for me to understand why he feels the need to mark his territory so excessively.... any and all insight would be greatly appreciated!
 

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For example, I put this rug in there as something small to test out instead of a towel:
B7BAFFCF-2794-465B-BBB2-CD80E22A6C5D.jpeg
I think it’s safe to say he now knows to use the litter box and this is marking...
I don’t expect perfection but how do I stop the peeing on/near new things??

I’ve started hanging rugs and blankets I’d like to put down in the pen on the sides to see if chinning them will be enough for Clove but as I move them closer to the ground he pees next to them...! Maybe I need to leave these things hanging into his cage for longer so they smell like him after he chins them...? But this is where I’m really confused because spraying his pen down with vinegar helped immensely with litter box training once I got the grass and peed on hay in the box and whatnot. So when I clean up the stray poop and spray the area with vinegar should I also spray the hanging things with vinegar? Or does that make Clove want to mark those items even more...?? I can’t tell.
 
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