Litter training a rabbit is surprisingly simple as rabbits are very clean animals who always use the same spot as a toilet.
Hutch rabbits / caged indoor rabbits
To make it easier to clean the hutch or indoor cage, you can place a small corner litter tray in the corner that your rabbit pees in. Place some bedding or hay in the tray so the rabbit does not slip when it hops in. This can then be cleaned out every couple of days, keeping the hutch / cage much cleaner between regular weekly cleans.
House rabbits (free range)
For an indoor rabbit you will need a much larger litter tray as this is where they spend a lot of time eating hay and some rabbits even sleep in their litter tray. A large cat litter tray with a lidded edge works well for rabbits who dig at their litter. For two rabbits an even bigger tray is needed and I would recommend something like an underbed plastic storage box minus the lid. Unless you have a very small breed of rabbit, most will happily hop in and out of a tray between 15cm and 20cm high as long as there is a non-slippery surface next to the tray.
Pine shavings / sawdust is by far the most common bedding available, however, this has been shown to cause liver disease in rabbits. A good alternative is paper pulp bedding e.g. Carefresh or wood pellets – these both control odour well and are very absorbent so a little goes a long way. I recommend lining the litter tray with newspaper then cover that with a thin layer of paper pulp or wood pellets covered again with a thin layer of hay.
How to litter train
The type of tray is important as you want the rabbit to feel comfortable and therefore want to spend time in the tray. Location is also important – find a place which is semi-private, away from draughts and loud noises and confine your house rabbit in the room with the tray. Place handfuls of fresh hay in one corner of the tray to encourage your rabbit to hop in and have a nibble.
Most rabbits will start using the tray with no hesitation, however, if your rabbit does pee elsewhere clean it up immediately with kitchen towel and place this in the tray so the smell tells the rabbit where it should be peeing. If your rabbit consistently pees in a different place, either move the tray to that place (if possible) or confine your rabbit in a smaller area, perhaps even in a dog crate, until it has learnt to use the tray.
Most rabbits tend to leave a few dry, round droppings around the tray to mark their territory; there is not much you can do to stop this, just sweep them up and put them in the tray. Clean out the litter tray every 2 to 3 days and every few weeks give it a proper scrub with disinfectant.
Neutered / spayed rabbits are easier to litter train but even a baby rabbit can be taught. When introducing a new rabbit into a pair or group, it will learn its litter training from the existing rabbit(s).
Hannah Davis is the author of http://www.bunnyhugga.com, a UK based website of rabbit information from A to Z. Featuring a guide for beginners, in-depth articles on health, diet, behaviour, housing, breeds and more, plus some fun articles on house rabbits.
Learn more about litter training here http://www.bunnyhugga.com/litter-training.html
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