Rabbit Potty Training
Updated: Mar 26, 2022
Litter potty training for rabbits requires little effort in terms of actual training. It just takes a bit of observation and working with their potty habits! As soon as our little buns are able to hop around, we train them to use a litter box.
One of our best advice is: WORK WITH, NOT AGAINST, YOUR RABBIT. It’s much easier to work with their potty habits rather than to force them into a routine they are not interested in. Putting the litter box in a corner Put a potty pan in a corner as rabbits tend to go to the bathroom in a corner. Watch them to see which corner they pee in (adjust as needed). If they like to go in a few corners, it may take a few potty pans at first to make sure they go in the pans. After they consistently go in the pans, then you can start removing pans they do not use (you can then also sell these pans to others on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist or you can donate it!).
When your rabbit pees outside of the pan, soak it up with a paper towel and put it in their potty pan. They start to pick up quickly that this is their potty area. When you clean the potty pan, do not clean all of the litter in the box. Leave some of their litter in the pan then gradually decrease the amount that you leave until they learn to only pee in that corner. Then you can fully wash the pan every time you empty it out. Something else that helps is putting their hay above the corner they like to go on. They tend to go to the bathroom as they eat, so this can help them go in only one corner. But again, make sure this is the corner they prefer. If you put bedding or pee pellets in their potty pan, then you do not want to have it in their enclosure as well, as this will confuse your bun and they will start peeing where they have their bedding. It is fine to have bare solid floors. On a last note, if you are litter training outside of their cage/closed compartments, training inside of their cage is what you should focus on first. After they have mastered this, then you can let them start free roaming and keep a careful eye on them. They will normally go back to their cage to pee, but may poop outside of their cage. There is always a possibility that they will have a corner outside of their cage, so be prepared for this. As a reminder, the goal is to get them to always pee in the same corner. Some buns, especially ones not neutered/spayed, will tend to poop outside of their potty pan and that may never change. Their poop is easy to clean up so the main goal is that their pee is under control.
Choosing the right litter box After experimenting with various types of potty pans, our favorite is this rectangular litter box. The buns are able to fully sit on wired bottoms and do their business. The two walls help prevent their pee from splashing everywhere, and you can secure the potty pan from the two walls. The wired bottom are also locked so your rabbit can’t remove it and play around with the wire and dig into the litter. The pan is also large enough to hold the litter and poop where we don’t have to clean it out for 2-3 days. And it doesn’t hurt that the litter box comes with a bowtie, a bandana, and a brush/pan! We’re neutral to the fashion accessory (doesn’t really fit our lionheads) but the brush/pan are great to use around the house. *Full disclosure, one of the first ones we received was broken, but they sent another one right away. We got a new one the day after we returned the broken one. Of course, this may not work for your bun -- every bun is different, after all! Here are other common types of potty pans for rabbits. Here is a similar version to the one we use. This type of pan is pretty popular on Amazon (pretty popular in the United States and on youtube videos). However, some of our buns tend to pee outside of the pan because they can’t fully fit on the pan. They will sit on the pan but their butt will stick out over the potty pan, making the pan essentially useless. A few of our buns figured out how to remove the wire bottom and made a mess of the litter underneath, which is why we opted for this potty pan. Plus the litter cakes on more easily to the pan than our preferred pan, so it took more effort to scrub the pans. If you have a problem with your bun peeing right outside the pan, I would recommend this large box which will catch their pee. It is more expensive than others, but some buns may need it. It is large enough to hold 2 or even 3 lionheads, and it has three walls, so the likelihood of their pee falling outside of the pan is minimal. Others also opt for the open potty pans. Cats typically use it, but it works just as well for rabbits! You would put a bottom layer of litter and a good helping of hay on top. Hay would be used to encourage rabbits to go in the same place they eat, which is typical rabbit behavior. If you like to have your bun free roam have them in a playpen, then a shallow tub is also great! This allows you to have your hay contained and they will poop and pee in this container. Of course, you can add litter at the bottom to capture the pee. Don’t worry, they do not eat hay that is soiled with their pee or poop. They are very clean creatures and love to eat clean as well! However, we worry that with this style of litter pan, the loose litter will stick to our bun’s feet (this may not be the case of non-fluffy buns like ours). Remember, every bun is different, and what works for us may not work for you! Don’t let our review discourage you from trying out different types of potty pans!
Types of litter to use We have also used many types of litter. Our favorite choice is Tractor Supply’s Pine Pellet Stall Bedding! It is cheap and hides the smell of your bun’s pee well. It will get stuck to your lionhead’s mane, so make sure to have something between your bun and the pellets like a wire or hay. We are also able to use this litter in our compost, which is a huge win for us, our garden, and the environment! There are other types of litter that are used for different purposes. For example, paper litter is able to be used as bedding, but will be a bit messy for lionheads. This is also very good at hiding the smells of their pee. Here are also some more environmentally friendly options: OH! Pet Bedding and Yesterday’s news. As always, we encourage you to experiment with which litter is right for you!