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How to Litter Train Your Rabbit

woman in a light pink shirt holding a black and white rabbit

Interested in letting your rabbit wander the house but dreading the little pellets all over your floor? Great news! Your rabbit can be taught to use a litter box, just like a cat. Wondering how to litter train your rabbit? Check out these tips…

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Rabbits are naturally clean animals, meaning that they don’t want to live in their filth anymore than you do.

In fact, most rabbits choose to do their business all in one spot – meaning that you need introduce them to the ‘perfect’ location and the rest will come naturally.

It’s easier than you think!

All you need is the right box (and contents), the ideal location and a little patience.

Before we get started, there is one important point to discuss…

Many experts advise that spaying or neutering your rabbit has many benefits for your rabbit’s overall health and well-being. Among these, the fact that it will be easier to litter train your furry friend.

When an unfixed rabbit reaches sexual maturity, they often exhibit changes in behaviour.

Among those, in many cases, is the natural inclination to mark their territory. Marking, of course, will mean doing their business in various areas around the home rather than sticking to their designated spot.

If you have not yet considered the benefits of spaying or neutering your rabbit, I recommend speaking to your veterinarian!

Related: ‘6 Phone Numbers Every Pet Owner Should Have On Hand

Creating the Perfect Litter Box

The first step necessary to effectively litter train your rabbit is to create a little box that he/she will want to use.

This includes a box that is comfortable for them to use as well as identifying the right location.

The litter box itself can simply be a basic tray style cat litter box, readily available at any pet store and most big box stores.

Avoid covered boxes as they will likely make your rabbit uneasy. This will only complicate the litter training process and discourage him/her from even wanting to be in the box, let alone use it.

Consider thinking ‘outside the box’ if necessary.

For example, if you have a larger rabbit and need a little more room, cement mixing tubs from your local hardware store provide the space necessary while still offering easy access.

Next, it’s time to purchase the right litter…

Do NOT purchase commercial cat litter for your rabbit!

Commercial cat litters can be incredibly dangerous for your rabbit, leading to serious (and possibly life-threatening) health conditions.

This is partially due to the fact that rabbits are more likely to ingest their litter than their feline counterparts.

Potential health concerns from commercial cat litters include:

  • Dust from clay litters can cause respiratory problems and/or eye irritation
  • Some cat litters include zinc oxide, which can cause zinc toxicity if ingested
  • Pine or cedar litters contain phenols which can lead to liver complications
  • Clumping litters can cause digestive blockages if ingested

Rabbit-safe litter options include paper-based litters, untreated wood chips and pellets or ground corncob litter.

Line the bottom of your rabbit’s litterbox with newspaper for easy cleaning.

Fill the box approximately one inch. Unlike cats, your rabbit will not be digging and covering their business. This means that filling it any further is nothing more than a waste of litter.

Top your litter of choice with fresh hay.

The hay will help to attract your rabbit to the litter box and encourage him/her to use that space instead of another corner of your house.

Find the Ideal Location

There is no secret formula to identify the perfect location for your rabbit’s box. Just like us, every rabbit is different with their own personal preferences.

That being said, there are a few considerations to help you along the way.

Choose a lower traffic corner of the home to avoid disturbing your rabbit.

Pay attention to noises and smells that may discourage your rabbit from wanting to be in that area or even scare your rabbit away from the location of the box.

Place several litter boxes in the areas of your home that your rabbit spends most of their time.

Finally, observe your rabbit’s behaviour. If you notice that he/she is always having ‘accidents’ in one specific corner of the room, move the litter box to that location.

dark brown litter box with a cream coloured edge holding pellet style litter and a burgundy litter scoop

Litter Train Your Rabbit

The litter training process is all about repetition and patience.

Start by restricting your rabbit to a single room or a smaller contained area of your home. If necessary, use a baby gate or metal pet enclosure to block off one part of a larger room.

When you first introduce your rabbit to the space, show him/her the location of the box.

You want to stay close by for the initial phase of the training process. This will allow you to address any accidents accordingly!

If your rabbit goes into the box to do his/her business, give plenty of praise!

You want to make the process of using the litter box a positive thing by using positive encouragement.

If, however, your rabbit goes to the bathroom outside of the box, avoid using punishment as a deterrent. Rabbits do not respond well to punishment!

Instead, immediately place both the rabbit and his/her droppings into the box and then give praise.

The key is consistency!

Early in the process, set a timer for 10-minute intervals. Each time that the timer goes off, place your rabbit in the litter box and praise him/her.

If your rabbit does go to the bathroom, continue with the praise!

As time progresses you can slowly increase the space available to your rabbit. Remember, if you are adding another room, you may also want to add another litter box!

Space out the time between reminder visits as you notice that your rabbit is going to the box regularly on his/her own.

Related: ‘Learn to Recognize These 12 Common Rabbit Diseases, Illnesses and Ailments

Be Prepared for Accidents

Your rabbit is learning, which means that he/she is NOT perfect. There will be accidents, it’s all part of the process.

Be patient!

If you are cleaning up urine, you can use white vinegar to neutralize smells.

Alternatively, there are commercial enzyme cleaners like Nature’s Miracle that will effectively clean up any accidents around your home.

If you do notice that your rabbit is regularly going to the bathroom outside of the provided litter box, go back to the beginning.

Take a look at the box itself, the location that it’s in, etc.

Is there a reason your rabbit does not like that space?

Finally, don’t overlook the fact that there may be health-related reasons at work.

Rabbits living with conditions like arthritis may have a harder time getting in and out of a litter box. Selecting a box with lower sides can make this easier.

Meanwhile, conditions like kidney or bladder stones and urinary tract infections may cause an otherwise well-trained rabbit to urinate outside of the box.

If you suspect that there may be health-related reasons for your rabbit’s behaviour, contact your veterinarian!

white rabbbit with black spots standing in a gray litter box full of hay with the text how to litter train your rabbit

Did you litter train your rabbit? If so, what tips and tricks would you like to share with other rabbit owners?

About Author

Britt Kascjak is a proud pet mom, sharing her heart (and her home) with her ‘pack’ which includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx. She has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. In her free time, she enjoys traveling around the country camping, hiking, and canoeing with her pets.

38 Comments

  • Unwanted Life
    July 3, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    I had no idea you could toilet train a rabbit. I even had two rabbits as a kid. Which I’d know this back then

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 3, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      I was lucky that I had the chance to learn this as a child. I had a rabbit growing up and she was litter trained. Not only did it mean I could let her run around the house without worrying too much, but it also made cleaning her pen a lot easier! lol

      Reply
  • Sarah
    July 3, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    Excellent advice on how to properly litter train a rabbit. Years ago, I had a rabbit that litter trained himself and would free-range the house 99% of the time. He was such a well-behaved rabbit, I didn’t even have t worry about him chewing wires or furniture. I plan to get a rabbit again, hopefully, this year, and I look forward to doing the same with that one.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 3, 2020 at 2:06 pm

      Sounds like he was incredibly well behaved! Especially not worrying about the wires – that’s such a big concern.

      Reply
  • Cassie
    July 3, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    I had no idea this was possible! That’s awesome!

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 4, 2020 at 12:18 am

      When I was a child I had a dwarf bunny that was litter trained. I loved that I could let her run around without having to be concerned!

      Reply
  • Kelly
    July 4, 2020 at 1:08 am

    Rabbits are so cute. I’ve always wanted one as a pet but I thought they had to be kept outdoors. It’s great to know that they can be toilet trained.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 10:10 am

      I had an adorable little Californian Dwarf as a child and she loved spending time indoors with us! She had a large cage in the garage where the temperatures were cooler in the summer to avoid her overheating, but we’d often bring her in and give her the run of the living room for a while.

      Reply
  • Nkem
    July 4, 2020 at 2:20 am

    I feel silly, but you don’t know what you don’t know! I never knew you had to litter train your rabbit or that there was something like that! I’m sure this will come up in trivia for me, now, haha/

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 10:08 am

      A lot of people didn’t! You’re definitely not alone on that… I think the only people who really do know in most cases are those who own litter trained rabbits lol

      Reply
  • Kat
    July 6, 2020 at 4:37 am

    A great guide! I had no idea that rabbits could be litter trained, as well. It makes sense that it would be easier to do so if they are neutered.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 10:05 am

      Definitely – it eliminates their natural tendencies to spray around the house.

      Reply
  • Faye
    July 6, 2020 at 10:53 am

    I didn’t realise you could train a rabbit to use a litter tray! This was really interesting x

    https://www.femaleoriginal.com

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 10:04 am

      I don’t think a lot of people realize it! It’s such a great way to give your rabbit a little extra room to roam around your house without having to worry about the mess.

      Reply
  • Erica (The Prepping Wife)
    July 7, 2020 at 5:14 am

    I had no clue that training a rabbit to use a little box was even possible! That is seriously cool. Rabbits are an animal many preppers raise as a food source, so this would be an awesome tool for them to know about too. I’ll definitely be sharing this.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 9:55 am

      It’s definitely easier than most would assume. Don’t get me wrong, it takes a lot of patience, but it definitely pays off!

      Reply
  • Lyosha
    July 7, 2020 at 10:58 am

    How fun! I have never had a pet rabbit and don’t know people who had or has such a pet. It is super curious to me though

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 9:54 am

      They are such adorable pets! I had a dwarf rabbit growing up and she loved to snuggle in for cuddles and attention.

      Reply
  • Melanie williams
    July 7, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Aw rabbits are super cute and I think people forget that they do need training, so this is some great advice x

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 9:53 am

      With a little time and effort, you can train them similar to a dog or cat to make a GREAT house pet!

      Reply
  • Dreams Abroad
    July 7, 2020 at 1:06 pm

    I never knew that one could litter train a Rabbit, this is a whole new level. My friend always let her rabbit run around the house and we would like little nuggles of fun. I would think that patience is very important during this time. 🙂

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 9:51 am

      Patience is VERY important – but if you stick with it, it’s totally worth the effort! No one wants to accidentally discover overlooked ‘nuggles of fun’ by stepping on them lol

      Reply
  • Tracy @ Cleland Clan
    July 7, 2020 at 2:45 pm

    My granddaughter had a litter-trained rabbit. They are so easy to have in the house! Rabbits make great pets.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 9:50 am

      They do make great pets! I’m sure that a lot of people don’t realize how affectionate they are and how easily they can be trained!

      Reply
  • Ruth Epstein
    July 10, 2020 at 2:27 pm

    WOW I never knew you could do this and it makes so much sense now that I have read your post, really interesting and am going to share with a friend of mine who has rabbits, thanks so much

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 9:32 am

      It’s so nice to allow your rabbit to run freely in a room with you without having to worry about how much mess you’ll be cleaning later lol

      Reply
  • Jana Rade
    July 11, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Wow, you can potty train a rabbit? I suppose any animal can be potty trained. Amazing, though, never thought of that.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 9:30 am

      A lot of people with house rabbits give them free rein of some rooms (rabbit proofed rooms) just as you would a cat or a dog! Litter training is an important part of that (unless you want to be cleaning up after it constantly)

      Reply
  • Emilia
    July 11, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    I had to train rabbits when I worked in the pet store. They are much smarter than I ever knew. Some can be downright cranky when you mess around with their space. I think they’re more territorial than my cats. I agree with getting them neutered- they make way better pets.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 9:27 am

      A lot of people underestimate their intelligence. They are so smart and their biological drive to stick to ‘doing their business’ in one spot makes it even easier to litter train them.

      Reply
  • The Dash Kitten Crew
    July 12, 2020 at 5:28 pm

    I used to have a study friend who had a house rabbit. I had not heard of them until then but I know that in Great Britain there is am official House Rabbit Society and the matter is taken very seriously! My friend had a small hutch inside (as well as suprvised garden access for bunny).

    Litter training will make a huge difference to any rabbit kept indoors and help their family a lot.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 9:25 am

      I was lucky to grow up with a house rabbit as a child, so my parents taught me that they can make great housepets! Litter training makes it SO much easier to keep your home clean while still allowing your pet to have room to explore. Plus, there is the bonding that comes from being right in the middle of everything, part of the family.

      Reply
  • Beth
    July 13, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    My son’s rabbit is 13 years old, but we didn’t know that she should have been spayed. Luckily, she has always been very healthy. At her age, I think spaying is probably too risky. She took to litter box training pretty easily.

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 13, 2020 at 9:29 pm

      I agree, spaying at her age would be quite risky.
      Litter training is SO much easier than a lot of people realize, isn’t it?

      Reply
  • Tiffany
    July 15, 2020 at 9:58 am

    As someone who has bunnies, this is super awesome information, and I noticed when I re-looked up all the information on bunnies went I got one when I got out of the Navy, this is so much more helpful and detailed than a lot of the bunny sites out there!

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 15, 2020 at 12:37 pm

      Thank you! I hope that it will help some bunny owners realize that they can train their pets too! Why not enjoy having your pets indoors with you without the messy cleanup? Right?

      Reply
  • Jenny in Neverland
    July 25, 2020 at 3:29 am

    I really would love a rabbit. My boyfriend and I absolutely love them but they really do take so much care and looking after, don’t they and there’s so much I don’t know about looking after rabbits. This is a really helpful post!

    Reply
    • Britt
      July 27, 2020 at 1:30 pm

      There is a lot more to owning a rabbit than most people realize, that’s for sure. However, the internet means that there is so much information out there at our fingertips now!

      Reply

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