Rabbits And Toilet Training
Rabbits are by nature clean animals when they are in a confined
space, ie rabbit cage, they will usually choose a distinct spot
like a corner to deposit their urine and most of their
droppings. Consequently toilet training is usually very easy and
involves little more than putting a litter tray where the rabbit
chooses to go. This tends to be close to their feed- ing area
and many rabbits will happily eat whilst sitting on their litter
The easiest way to litter train a rabbit is to place it in a
confined space such as a run or an indoor cage, with its food
and litter tray next to each other. The rabbit will happily sit
in the tray to defecate and urinate soon after eating.
Initially, it may be necessary to place some droppings in the
tray to get the rabbit used to the idea. Once the habit is
established, gradually enlarge the area and you should find that
the rabbit is happy to return to the tray.
Most rabbits quickly get the idea, especially if you keep an eye
on them and herd them towards the tray in their early days.
However you may encounter problems when your rabbit reaches the
age of 4-6 months at which time their hormones become active and
they usually begin marking their territory. By spaying or
neutering your rabbit, it will be more likely to use the litter
tray as well as being much healthier and happier. Some rabbits
love to kick their litter out of the tray. You can get covered
litter trays, which the rabbit might accept. On the other hand,
it may consider that the cover makes the tray into a burrow,
which it wouldn't normally soil in and refuse to use the tray
altogether. If this happens, try a tray with high sides. Another
problem is that rabbits often back up so far in the litter tray
that the urine goes over the edge. Again, a covered litter tray
or one with higher sides may solve this problem.
Litter should be non-toxic, dust free and absorbent, but not to
the extent that it goes into large clumps once it is damp.
Rabbits spend a lot of their time on their litter tray and will
always nibble some of it, so toxic litter or the clay-based
type, which could swell up to several times its original size in
your rabbit's stomach should not be used. Rabbit urine also has
a very strong smell and can irritate your rabbit's skin. It is
important, therefore , to choose a good absorbent litter, but
avoid dusty litters which may irritate a rabbit's eyes or nose.
For these reasons, it is probably better to use an organic
Finally, if you haven't kept a rabbit before, you may be
surprised and revolted to see your rabbit eating its droppings.
There is no reason to be alarmed or disgusted. The material you
see your rabbit eating are caecotropes, partially digested
particles sealed in a coating of colonic mucus, which are
fermenting and from which the rabbit will get more nutrients as
they are ingested again.