First you will want to buy a litter pan, but not just any litter pan. On the market for rabbits you will find these litter pans that are a triangle shaped which can be placed in the corners of your cage. These are not the most effective ones to use and I do not recommend them. If you do choose to buy one of the corner pans and you are having trouble potty training, switch to a square one. Try to find a pan that is stable enough that if they push their feet on the edge, it wont tip over.
For litter, we recommend using a shredded paper or pellet form to absorb urine. Do not use clay-based or clumping litter as this is harmful to rabbits’ respiratory systems. Look for a litter that is odor absorbent, as rabbit urine has an unpleasant smell. Put a thin layer of litter at the bottom of the litter box- just enough to absorb wetness. If you do not have a hay bin/ litter box combo, we recommend adding a thin layer of straw to the top of the litter in the pan because rabbits like to chew on something while they’re in their litter box. There’s no need to fill it too high since rabbits don’t bury their droppings like cats. Plus, when you clean the litter box, you dump the entire contents out each time. Don’t fill too high or you will excessively waste a lot more litter than necessary.
You’ll want to limit their free roam space in the beginning to get them acclimated to their new area. Buying a puppy pen to confine them in one area is a good idea. As they are progressing in their training, you can open their space up more until they are fully potty trained. Then feel free to let them free roam with full access to their litter pan. If for any reason they start having accidents, retract their space again until they’re using their litter box. Some families have multiple litter boxes depending on how big of a space they have to run around in.
Here are a few other tips for those stubborn, “outside-the-box” bunnies:
· If an accident occurs, wipe up the urine with a paper towel and pick up stray poop and place both in the litter box. This helps get the message across that the litter box is the place that they should do their business. Keep in mind that rabbits are generally not 100% perfect with their litter box. Sometimes they leave a few droppings next to the box, or they urinate over the edge of their box. This is normal, so placing a plastic mat under their litter box or putting the litter box on a tile floor makes it easier to clean up these little mistakes.
· Bunnies here at Blue Clover Rabbitry begin potty training before they leave. Some rabbits pick it up right away within a day, while others may take a few months. Be patient and persistent! If you can see they’re about to go outside their litter box (they may lift their tail or sometimes they sort of shimmy down in a seated position right before they go), try to pick them up and put them in the litter box.
· If your bunny is insistent on going in one corner of the room, sometimes it’s easier to give in to their stubbornness, and place a litter box in that corner.
· If your rabbit is pooping/spraying pee everywhere, this is probably due to your rabbit marking his territory. It’s a good idea to get your rabbit spayed/neutered in order to calm down their hormones and lessen the likelihood of territory marking. Sometimes it can take up to a couple months for the spraying to stop so be patient. You can buy a litter box with tall sides to help avoid urine being sprayed out of the pan.
Even if your buns live outdoors, you can still potty train and we would recommend doing so for cages without a drop pan. This allows the cage and rabbit to stay cleaner.