Litter Training Your Rabbit

Yes it is possible

Actually, not only is it possible, but it is also fairly easy. Before you begin you should take two elements into consideration to prevent failure before it discourages you: age and genital status. An older rabbit is easier to train than a younger rabbit. Young rabbits, particularly babies, have a very short attention span and are far too busy discovering the world around them to worry about bathroom habits. In addition, rabbits that are not neutered or spayed will use their droppings and urine to fill their hormonal urges to mark their territory. Though it is not impossible to litter train these rabbits, chances are you will have much better luck with an older, altered rabbit.


Rabbits have a natural instinct to always "do their business" in the same places. They particularly like to choose corners. The disadvantage of this, is that THEY choose the location, not you and it may not always be your first choice. Trying to change the location is often futile. The advantage of this, however, is that litter training is often as easy as placing the box in their "spot".


Boxes: People have used everything from lasagna pans to Tupperware as litter boxes. The good news is rabbits aren't too picky. But rather than reinvent the wheel, the best boxes are the standard square cat boxes. Small for rabbits 7 pounds and under, medium (or bigger) for larger rabbits. In the cage the litter box should take up one small section only, not dominate the entire cage. You may also want to consider the corner litter boxes often sold for ferrets and other small animals. These also work well to conserve cage space.

Litter: The best litter to use is recycled newspaper, or Max's, which is made from rice husks.  Though these are more expensive, you will not need to change them as often or use as much as other types. Or you could go natural. Some people just line the boxes with hay over newspaper or just hay itself. Though it is natural, enticing and depending on where you get your hay, cheaper, the disadvantage is that you need to change it every day since you rabbit will be munching on the hay while in the box.

Avoid clay cat litter, especially the clumping kind. Rabbits love to dig and the clay litter produces dust which could lead to respiratory troubles. Don't use wood shavings or softwood based products because of the phenols in pine and cedar. Regardless of which type you use, if your rabbit finds it too delicious you may to change. Ingesting small amounts of organic litter is okay, but large amounts can cause problems.

Cleaning: There really isn't a magic number relating to how often you need to clean the box; it is up to you and your rabbit to decide. Although the cleaner the box is the more your rabbit will be encouraged to use it. As for cleaning products, two of the best at getting out stains and odor are white vinegar and Nature's Miracle. Keep in mind rabbit droppings make great fertilizer!!!

  Nobunny's perfect: The best-trained rabbit will leave a few occasional droppings around the room or cage. Even in non-hormonal rabbits this is a way to mark their territory. Also rabbits have been known to accidentally hang their backsides out of the litter box, so it is a good idea to keep a towel under any litter boxes outside the cage. And finally if you have a rabbit that has always had great litterbox habits and suddenly forgets how check the environment to see if anything has changed. If it hasn't this may be a sign of illness.
How to go about it

Start in the cage. Find the corner where your rabbit likes to go and place the box there. If they move their "bathroom", keep moving the box until they get the idea. If they aren't getting the idea, try changing the style of box or the type of litter. Rabbits also like to snack while in the box, so try placing hay in or near the litterbox. Once they are used to the box in the cage allow them into their run area while the cage door is open. Watch for the area they choose as the "outside bathroom" and place the box there. Since they are in the habit of using the box in the cage, they should understand what you are trying to communicate. It is best to start small. When the have mastered one space, allow them more. Depending on the size of your run area, you may need more than one box. Also understand that as each new area is added they will need to mark it by droppings poops for a few days. The same holds true if something new is brought into their environment.

Rabbits do not respond well to negative reinforcement. Do NOT ever hit a rabbit. Yelling also doesn't work beyond a quick sharp "No" and that usually doesn't work well. Hand clapping works for some people, but what usually works best making the area enticing. Place hay in or near the box or if they do well give them a treat. If they are going somewhere you don't want them to try spraying the area (the area, not the rabbit) with white vinegar. This works well if they are going near the box, but not in it.

Most of all be patient and consistent.