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Liquidtravel

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Hello all,

I am new to this forum and new to rabbits. I just adopted a 4 month old Flemish rabbit. His name is Franklin and I have had him 2 days. So, yes, really new.

I have read a great deal and watched a lot of videos about liter training rabbits. Granted, it has only been 2 days but so far he drops pellets just about anywhere he wants inside his habitat.

His habitat is an extra large dog kennel. The inside is about 3.5 feet long, 2.5 feet wide and about 3.5 feet high. It has two doors on it and on the end, I have attached a play area so he can leave his habitat and go into the play area which is about 6 feet long by 2.5 feet wide so pretty big space.

Inside the kennel I have put a hay holder on the far side away from the play area and then right next to it is his liter box. I have a pellet feeder closer to the door which exits into the play area and there are a few toys in there as well.

When I was gone today (first day I have left him alone, I left the door to the play area open so he could run around (should I?). When I came home there were rabbit droppings all over the place. Not many in his liter box although he seems to really enjoy going to the liter box and sitting in there eating his hay.

I went ahead and cleaned up the crate and changed out his liter box. He didn't seem to appreciate the effort I went through to clean his liter box because as soon as I put it back in the crate, he jumped into the liter box and started digging, kicking everything from the inside of the liter box outside the liter box. As I started to sweep it all together to put it back into the liter box, he was running around my hands jumping on the debris I was trying to sweep up.

I had read that if I catch him not using the liter box, I was to immediately put him in his liter box. But, since there was so many droppings everywhere and I didn't know when he did it, I didn't know about putting him in the box.

Anyway, I would love any advice I can get about how to liter train him and whether I should have the door open to his play area while I am at work (8-9 hours).

I don't have much else in his crate for now until he is catching on to using his liter box I have only seen a couple of puddles of urine so far so that makes me think he is at least urinating in his liter box but he certainly prefers to not use the box for his droppings.

Also, what about at night, should I close his play area?

all thoughts welcome.

thank you,
 
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TheSketchyBunnies

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Hello! I have had my fair share of litter box training, and I’m wondering if you are putting Frank’s (LOVE the name by the way!! :) ) droppings back into his litter box? If not try doing so. Also sanitize any places where he has peed with a vinegar and water solution (1/2 vinegar 1/2 water) so he can only smell his poop and pee in his litter box and will associate that with where he is supposed to go. Another thing you can do is soak up Franklin’s pee with toilet paper and put that in his litter box before you sanitize.

I hope this helps! -Kaylor
 

Liquidtravel

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Thank you. Yes, I do put his droppings back into his liter box and have also tried the paper towel trick. Granted, we are only talking about 1 day. I will just keep trying.

What about keeping his play area closed off while I am away at work or at night, should I or should I let him run around. When I come home or wake up in the morning, there were droppings everywhere. Maybe too big a space while I am liter training him?
 

TheSketchyBunnies

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Personally I don’t know the answer to these questions as my rabbits weren’t socialized when I got them so by the time they came out of their cage they were already litter box trained.. I would imagine that keeping him in his cage while litter box training would be a good idea. But please get another opinion besides me because I don’t know very much about that! Haha! :)
 

Hermelin

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Keep him in the play area until littler trained and then slowly make his area bigger. Otherwise he will scatter droppings all over the place to mark his territory.

Later on you will still find droppings outside the litter box. But it won’t be a lot.
 

Blue eyes

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Even a fully litter trained rabbit is likely to drop poos all over the place for the first several days. He's marking his new territory.

I would not be too quick to clean his litter box. You want it to smell like his waste so he returns to it again and again. I would limit his area until he gets the hang of his litter box. (What litter are you using?)

It's up to you, but my thought is to let him have pen access all day long. Then, for night, it will be up to you. It is rather a small area (the kennel) for extended time. Whatever you choose I'd suggest being consistent. They get used to and even seem to like routines.
 

Katie94

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If he isn’t already neutered (I see he’s still very young at 4 months), if he’s still struggling to get the hang of it after he’s been with you a bit longer that can really help. Both of my boys weren’t terrible with their litter habits but only got the hang of it properly when they were neutered until that point I’d always have to pick up stray poops!
 

Mariam+Theo

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I would keep the kennel door open 24/7 or not even have the kennel at all. Place the litter box in the corner that he likes to do his business in and he should go there. Here is a link to litter training that is super helpful: https://rabbitsindoors.weebly.com/litter-training.html. I agree with @Katie94 about neutering. It helped my rabbit a lot! Below is a picture of one of @Blue eyes old setups for one of her rabbits that might work in your house. (I got it from her blog). Cardboard boxes are great toys if you cut 1-2 holes in the side for you rabbit to climb through. Make sure you put it in the middle of the pen so that your rabbit doesn't use it to climb over the pen walls. You may want to protect the walls with these grids (https://www.amazon.com/AHOME-Storage-Shelving-Bookcase-Shelves/dp/B07DMDW6G7/ref=pd_ybh_a_17?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=JAH2Z0ZDZVEVDBRNP1DN), just make sure you connect them with zip ties because the attachment pieces don't work well.
 

Liquidtravel

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Just to make sure I am clear, here is a photo of Franklin's habitat. In the back corner is the large dog crate that I am converting to Franklin's home. The extension coming out to the left is the play pen.

Right now, I have the liter box in the dog crate in the very back corner, right in front of his hay feeder.

Is that where I should have his liter box. The reason I ask is because some of the comments say to keep him in the play pen until he is liter box trained. If I keep him in the play pen, that is away from his liter box so I wanted to be sure I understood.

One last thing, he is getting more and more comfortable coming out of the kennel into the living room when I am home, should I let him out of his pen at all at this stage? Also, as he gets more affectionate, I have noticed he is starting to nibble on me. He seems to especially like to bite (not hard) my knees and ankles. What is that about?

thanks
 

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Mariam+Theo

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He is really cute and those nips mean "give me attention" or he is giving kisses. That looks good for now, but eventually letting him free roam would be best.
 

Liquidtravel

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He does free roam when I am in the living room. There are 2 doors to his habitat. One goes to the play area and one out into the living room. He comes out, runs around, comes over to me for scratches or to nip my knee and then runs back inside his kennel to the play area and lays flat on his belly for a while and then repeats the entire process for a while. I just read the article that @Theo posted and what I have noticed is in the last 2 days he has only urinated outside of his box twice. I am assuming that is really good. As far as droppings go, I guess he is still marking his territory but at least when he is outside of the kennel, he only drops a couple hear and there but mainly in the kennel area. Most of the dropping occur when I am at work.
 

Augustus&HazelGrace

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Even after fully litterbox trained stray poops are to be expected. As for now, he is in a new place he is marking his territory. Can you show an up-close picture of what is kennel set up is like? What type of pellets are you feeding and how much? What type of hay? Toilet paper rolls make good toys btw. Oh and some rabbits have a hard time on hard floors like that some don't but if he seems to be sliding around a lot then a low pile rug would be needed for his playpen. And although I do agree on free roam is best, you should keep him confined to his playpen and kennel until he is fully litter box trained. This will make it much easier on you trust me and it helps him know where to go.
 

Apollo’s Slave

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Just to make sure I am clear, here is a photo of Franklin's habitat. In the back corner is the large dog crate that I am converting to Franklin's home. The extension coming out to the left is the play pen.

Right now, I have the liter box in the dog crate in the very back corner, right in front of his hay feeder.

Is that where I should have his liter box. The reason I ask is because some of the comments say to keep him in the play pen until he is liter box trained. If I keep him in the play pen, that is away from his liter box so I wanted to be sure I understood.

One last thing, he is getting more and more comfortable coming out of the kennel into the living room when I am home, should I let him out of his pen at all at this stage? Also, as he gets more affectionate, I have noticed he is starting to nibble on me. He seems to especially like to bite (not hard) my knees and ankles. What is that about?

thanks
Could it be that his litter box is too small?
 

Apollo’s Slave

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Just to make sure I am clear, here is a photo of Franklin's habitat. In the back corner is the large dog crate that I am converting to Franklin's home. The extension coming out to the left is the play pen.

Right now, I have the liter box in the dog crate in the very back corner, right in front of his hay feeder.

Is that where I should have his liter box. The reason I ask is because some of the comments say to keep him in the play pen until he is liter box trained. If I keep him in the play pen, that is away from his liter box so I wanted to be sure I understood.

One last thing, he is getting more and more comfortable coming out of the kennel into the living room when I am home, should I let him out of his pen at all at this stage? Also, as he gets more affectionate, I have noticed he is starting to nibble on me. He seems to especially like to bite (not hard) my knees and ankles. What is that about?

thanks
Could it be that his litter box is too small?
 

TreasuredFriend

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Fabulous to see you asking Qs! -- Multiple Facebook forums talk about litter-pan training tips and HRS educator Mary Cotter has nearly a book of recommendations & expert advice for rabbit parents.

Allowing too much free roam space can be detrimental to litter-box training.

Be aware that when hormones kick in, you'll want to get him neutered. Hope that he is not spraying everyone as males (and some unaltered females) will do. The urine of an unaltered rabbit stinks a lot.
 

TreasuredFriend

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From rabbitsindoors -- Mucho credit to the extensive info provided -- a quick excerpt :

The next step – letting bunny out of the cage:

Once your rabbit is consistently using the litter box, it is time to slowly expand his roaming area. Block off an area surrounding the cage so that the cage door can be open to a limited area. An exercise pen works well for this. The goal here is to ensure that he can easily find his way back to the litter box. (Again, expect stray poos in the new area. He's marking his new, expanded territory). As he consistently returns to the box to urinate, then the area can be gradually expanded. If he urinates outside the box (and he's fixed) then he needs more time confined in his cage until he gets the hang of going potty in his litter box.

As long as bunny doesn't urinate while outside his cage, he is doing well -- even if you don't see him return to his box to use it. The fact that he's not going elsewhere is what's important.
MISTAKES TO AVOID
Letting bunny roam outside the cage before he is trained.

This may seem obvious, but some new owners are so anxious to interact with their new bunny that they let him out to play too soon. It doesn't take long for bunny to piddle somewhere and that simple piddle can set the training process back by weeks or longer. That urine smell, especially in carpet, is very difficult to remove to the point where the bunny can't even smell it. If he does smell it, he's likely to go there again and again.
Having an improper litter set-up.


If the litter box itself is too small, bunny is less likely to use it. The box should be inviting and roomy – a place bunny wants to go in.

If the hay isn’t easily accessible in the box, it won’t be inviting.

If there is soft bedding of any kind elsewhere in the cage, bunny may prefer that area in which to potty.
Leaving urine on the cage floor.
Bunnies like to potty in the same place. If one area smells like urine, that will be where he’ll want to go again. Be diligent in cleaning up any urine promptly.
Offering too much roaming space too soon.
Granting too much space too soon is a common cause for training accidents. So be conservative when deciding when bunny can gain the freedom of a larger space.
Younger rabbits and litter training
Those who start off with an intact baby may be in for a difficult journey. To the surprise of many people, young rabbits are considerably more difficult to train than post-hormonal and fixed rabbits. Some babies may litter train, but often lose that habit when those hormones kick in.

Hormonal youngsters are unpredictable and can be extremely difficult or even impossible to train. Then when the piddle accidents begin, urine odors get in the wrong places. Once fixed, bunny may return to those lingering odors making training more difficult. If you have a young, intact rabbit – even one that seems to be litter trained - keep any roaming off of carpet and on solid (clean-able) flooring until he/she is fixed.

It can take a couple weeks after a female's spay or up to 6 weeks after a male's neuter before hormones are fully dissipated. Litter training works best after those hormones have fully subsided.
 
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