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11 Steps To Train Your Rabbit To Use A Litter Box (How-To)

How To Train A Rabbit To Use A Litter Box

Rabbits are cute, fluffy buddies.

But have you ever wondered…

How to litter-train them on your own?

And how messy it can get?

Don’t worry. You’re on the right page.

Read on to learn more:

  • How long does it take to litter train a rabbit.
  • Types of litter to use and avoid for your rabbit.
  • 11 easy steps to train your rabbit to use a litter box.
  • And so much more…

Can you train a rabbit to use a litter box?

You can teach a rabbit to use a litter box. Rabbits are intelligent and territorial animals. They can track a scent and choose their territory. It may take time to train them, but it’s not that difficult.

How to train a rabbit to use a litter box? 11 steps

#1: Choose the best litter box for your bunny

Put healthy food and non-toxic materials in your rabbit cage when litter-training them for the first time.

Limiting their space in the first training phase helps them choose their drop spot.

Give them time. As rabbit owners, your attention is necessary at this stage.

Once they begin marking their spot, allow a few days for them to consistently use it before you give them more space.

You may complement your litter box with the size of your rabbit.

But rabbits grow quickly. 

It’s always ideal to buy big ones while your bunny grows in size.

This is also preferable if you’re raising more than 1 rabbit at home.

Rabbits like to hang out in their litter boxes most of the time.

Give them adequate space to make them feel comfortable while they do their thing.

You can use cat litter boxes, but be sure to remove the lids.

Litter-training your pet can take a lot of time and patience, especially baby rabbits.

Tip: You may need to buy or provide more than 1 litter box in their first few weeks of training. Observe where they usually poop or pee and place a litter box in the same spot.

#2: Choose the best type of hay 

Rabbits like to chew. 

Putting hay on top of their litter box would invite them to use it while they go.

Giving them food also motivates them to search the area and build trust with their surroundings.

Think of it as bait.

The more you provide their needs, the more they’ll feel comfortable in their territory.

As rabbit owners, knowing what types of hay and other food are healthy for your pet is vital.

Here’s a table of hays for you to try and choose from: 

Types of HayDescription
Oat Perfect for mixing with other hay types.
Herbal A mix of Timothy hay and other herbs such as chamomile, marigold, or dandelion. 
Timothy The best type you can give to your rabbit, especially for ones with delicate digestive function. 

Perfect for unlimited feeding.
Orchard High in fiber and low in protein which is also perfect for digestion.
Meadow A mix of kiln-dried meadow grass is high in protein than Timothy hay.

Note: Other meadow grass types are high in calcium which could harm your rabbit’s diet.

Note: Hays are dried grass. They’re rich in fiber which is good for your rabbit. You can feed them directly with fresh grass from time to time to help their digestion. 

#3: Choose the best litter

Like hay, rabbits munch on litter most time.

They even eat their poop.

Adding an extra layer of litter in their territory makes them want to visit that spot often, especially if they smell their scent.

Rabbits are unlike cats in a way that they don’t dig after they poop or pee.

Put more bait for your rabbbit by adding a layer of litter onto the box enough to absorb their urine.

Warning: Rabbits like to eat while they’re dropping those little bombs. Avoid using clay or clumping litter to prevent ingestion.

Another thing to be cautious about is putting softwood shavings as litter.

Wood releases fumes that cause liver damage to rabbits.

If wood shavings are the only option available, place your litter box in an open area.

You may want your rabbit’s blood checked regularly by your vet.

It’s true that: “Prevention is better than cure.”

#4: Put a layer of newspaper

Put A Layer Of Newspaper On Your Rabbit's Litter Box

You might come to think…

“Newspapers are no longer a thing in our present time.”

But not when you’re a rabbit parent. 

Litter-training your rabbit is easy.

It’s a matter of prepping their litter box the right way.

While rabbits like their scent, you don’t want their litter box to stink.

Newspapers are good for absorbing rabbit urine. It’s also a practical and cheaper alternative.

It also helps control odor when layered properly with other litter products.

However, vegetable or soy-based ink newspapers are the ones to go for.

Warning: Newspapers come with chemical-based ink, which is not good for rabbits.

You may check with your newspaper delivery service or ask a professional to be sure.

Since rabbits tend to chew a lot. Put only a thin layer of newspaper.

If rabbits ingest a lot of newspaper, it may cause digestion problems.

Tip: You can use recycled, dust-free paper litter like Carefresh.

#5: Place a handful of hay on top

Litter-training for the first time may need a lot of enticing strategies to do as rabbit owners.

And hays are like your rabbit’s go-to snack. 

It’s putting a cherry on top of your rabbit’s litter box.

Placing a thick layer of hay on top of your litter box would awaken your rabbit’s curiosity.

Litter-training your rabbit is easy. 

You just need the right ingredients – hay. And a lot of them.

Feeding your bunnies with hay is good for their diet.

 Plus, they have amazing benefits: 

  • Rich in minerals and proteins.
  • High in fiber that’s good for their digestion.
  • Can be mixed with other hays and herbs for more nutritional content.

Did you know: Rabbits grow their teeth throughout their lives. Chewing also helps them avoid dental problems.

Rabbits may eat and poop at the same time.

It’s ideal to put hays at the topmost so that your bunny can munch on a healthier snack than paper and litter.

#6: Place the litter box where your rabbit usually poops

Rabbits are territorial animals. 

They like to pee or poop to mark their space.

Observe where your bunny likes to drop and place the litter box in the same spot.

You can place the litter box inside a big cage to guide your rabbit where to go. 

Once your rabbit uses the litter box in the cage often, slowly remove the cage to allow more space.

You can then try to put litter boxes in their free space, and see if they remember.

Tip: Stubborn bunnies like to drop waste everywhere. Pick up their poop and place it in their actual litter box. 

#7: Put a mat below the litter box

Pets sometimes forget or try to break the rules, and rabbits are no exception.

Bunnies do this because they like to mark their spot.

Sometimes, they like to drop their scent everywhere.

You can’t stop your bunnies from pooping everywhere in a blink of an eye.

If your bunnies continue to do this and are no longer using their litter bin, the best thing you can do is to give in.

Move their litter box to the new spot they like.

When your bunnies poop or spray urine beside their litter box, clean it right away with white vinegar. 

Place a mat under the litter box to solve this little mess.

But be cautious when choosing your litter mats. 

Rabbits like to chew all the time, and plastic mats are harmful if they ingest them.

Tip: You can use rosewood or grass mats for your rabbits.

#8: Change litter regularly

Don’t wait until your nose tells you to…

Unless you’re switching to an organic air freshener.

Hygiene is important for you and your pets.

A rabbit’s urine has a strong odor. Leaving it for a day or two will not smell.

But you can tell the difference in the air quality at home, right?

The smell could be due to the type of litter you put in their box.

  • Hay
  • Newspaper.
  • Wood shavings.
  • Recycled paper pellets.

Regardless, change their litter 3-4 times a week if your rabbits use it frequently.

Note: Rabbits also pay attention to their markings. They might drop somewhere else if they can’t detect their scent in their litter box.

#9: Wash their litter box

Changing your rabbit’s litter isn’t enough.

Washing the entire litter pan regularly is putting an extra level of hygiene for you and your pet.

You can use white vinegar solution to clean the bin or any mild soap.

To make a vinegar solution, follow a ratio of 1:1. 

  • Mix 8 fl. oz. (250 ml) white vinegar with water using the exact measurement.
  • You can add water if the smell of vinegar is too strong.
  • Put the solution in a spray bottle for future use.

For a stubborn smell, soak the litter pan with a vinegar solution or other products that don’t give off strong fumes.

Don’t wash the bin with scented products.

Rabbits have a good sense of smell. 

They might not use their litter box when they detect an unnatural odor.

You can jet spray using your water hose to apply pressure while cleaning stubborn dirt. 

Sun dry your litter boxes if the weather permits you to.

Tip: Keep a spare litter box for your rabbits to use while you’re cleaning another. Check for cracks or damages to avoid leakage.

#10: Make your litter box pleasing to your bunny

The first few steps you can do when litter training your rabbit for the first time is to limit space.

However, you can try creating a more inviting box for your bunny.

Add enrichment objects near the area, like hay or grass tubes and a digging box.

Give them treats every time they use their litter box to motivate them.

You can place litter boxes on elevated platforms or near their hiding spots.

But most of all, more hay.

#11: Spay your bunny

Neutering your rabbits stops their ability to bear offspring.

But it’s also a way of preventing female rabbits to develop reproductive cancers.

Between the age of 4-6 months, your rabbit’s hormones become active.

They begin marking their territory by spraying urine on specific spots.

Vets recommend spaying your rabbits between 6-8 months old. 

Neutering also gives amazing health benefits to your rabbits.

It calms their sexual urge and frustration, especially if they live alone.

If you plan to have your rabbit neutered, seek professional advice from your vet first.

Watch this rabbit litter training video here:

Types of litter to use and avoid for your rabbit

Choosing the best type of litter is necessary as rabbits like to spend a lot of time in their litter box munching on something. 

Here are some types of litter to use and avoid:

Use ThisReason
Paper-based litterGenerally safe to use 
Grass-based litterGenerally safe to use
NewspapersRecommended: Vegetable/soy-based ink
Compressed sawdust pelletsKiln-dried (toxins removed upon manufacturing)

Litters are not rabbit food. Since they ingest it all the time, it’s best to know what they’re made of.

Important: Know your rabbit’s diet requirements by checking on the nutritional contents of anything you’re giving them. 

Avoid ThisReason
Softwood shavings (pine or cedar)Give off toxic fumes that damage their liver
Clay-based litterClay dust may cause rabbits pneumonia 
Corn cobCauses digestive blockage
Clumping litterCauses digestive problems

How long does it take to litter-train a rabbit

It takes 2 weeks on average for your rabbits to consistently use their litter box.

Some bunnies learn faster, but it’s important to give them enough time to know their surroundings.

Rabbits are tame like any other domesticated animal. 

But age, gender, or experiences (if they had previous owners) may affect rabbit behavior.

Rabbits learn tricks and are highly intelligent animals.

It takes time and patience to train them, especially young rabbits.

But with the help of neutering, it’s makes litter-training easy.