Litter Training Rabbits
Updated: Nov 10, 2020
A testimonial from Traci C. edited and published by Wade Boelter
~ Hello Wade,
We were very successful in training the bunnies to the litter boxes. Here is our recommendation.
Bunnies pee/poop while they eat. We found it best to put their food dishes right in their litter box. This is ESPECIALLY true for placement of the hay feeder. MOST of the pee and a good bit of poop goes in the litter box under the hay feeder (images attached). The rest of the poop lands in the litter box under the food dishes. We didn’t really have pee accidents after the first couple of weeks. These litter boxers (link below) are so easy to manage. A little pricey but worth it at $51 on Amazon. I recommend that you own 2 litter boxes at the least. We use “Yesterday’s News” litter (compressed newspaper pellets) and it works great. You just mostly cover the bottom of the litter box and expands when it gets wet. You don’t need the box to be full. The smell is minimal to non-existent.
We placed the two litter boxes facing one another under the hay feeder. Then we ended up getting a 3rd litter box in an effort to contain the pee accidents. I’m not sure you need a 3rd box. Honestly, they NEVER peed or pooped by the water bowl. The third litter box is useful when we take out the two litter boxes (hay and food bowl locations) daily to clean. It helps to have the 3rd one to put in the pen in the place of the other 2 just so they are not tempted to pee/mark the floor during the 15 minutes you might be outside cleaning the 2 litter boxes. We change 2 boxes daily, and just rotate that clean water-dish litter box to the back hay feeder position temporarily. The hay litter box is the MOST soiled. It MUST be changed daily. The smell is minimal overall with this setup.
One tricky thing is that the litter boxes set facing each other don’t entirely fit together leaving a little gap exposed. We had some issues with poop falling down in between. The poop is mostly dry and very easy to clean. The pee going in the crack was a whole different story and a real mess. It would seep down under the mats and we had to disassemble the whole set-up once or twice to clean that. This occurred during the period where they weren’t quite fully trained to use the litter box. Thank the heavens we lined the floor with a heavy-duty tarp/plastic under the mats which was a life-saver for our wood floors. I have since purchased an under-bed storage bin from Container Store (link below) and put the lid underneath the litter boxes to serve as a sort of “tray”. The problem was solved. You want the 27 x 16 size. You only need to use the lid turned upside down fitting perfectly under the 2 litter boxes that face each other. This makes the pee easy to clean if anything drips down saving the floors.
We found really small food dishes and put them in the corner of the box, so their little bum is not over the crack when they eat. Despite our effort they like to pull the dishes around and that is how they sometimes end up peeing in the crack. The small food dishes minimize the problem.
To train them, we mopped up the pee using a tissue or paper towel and put it inside the litter box. The smell would now be in the litter box and attract the bunnies to pee in the same area as the scent. Then we used a urine-neutralizing spray from the pet store to clean the mat/floor removing the scent from the wrong location of urine. Within a week or two, they easily learned to go in the box. As we put the clean litter box in the cage, they would hop in there and pee. We would always praise them every time we saw that, and the whole process was pretty fast.
The website link below with Dianne at Ohio Holland Lops was the best resource for getting us ready. She has videos introducing pens and habitats (see “Bunny Room Tours” on her site). And also this link is great for litter training. You can see her review the litter box I like on that site. The video was when she had just discovered it and hadn’t used it yet. I would ONLY get this one (it’s so much better than the others pictured). The other ones that sell in the pet store would be WAY too small. Their bum would hang off the back allowing the pee/poop to go on the floor. Here is her site – scroll all the way down this page to Litter Training.
The hay feeder we used was ”Niteangel Pet Wooden Hay Manger with Seat”, Large Size, 9-7/8'' x 6-3/4'' x 8'. Your estimated cost is $18 on Amazon. Hanging the hay feeder on our dog kennel pen required a little ingenuity. The large bars on the pen sent us to Tractor Supply where we bought some large washers to hold it on the pen bars, but that was easy- $1. You can get washers at any hardware store.
We also found that having the hay up in the feeder (as opposed to on the floor of a litter pan like some sites recommend) is helpful for not wasting too much hay. They won’t eat the hay they have soiled, so making them reach up to get it is good exercise for them and also helps not waste hay.
The pen we got on Amazon was about $89: BestPet Pet Playpen Dog Kennel 8 Panel Indoor Outdoor Folding Metal Exercise Pen. We got the 32 inch height to be safe that they couldn’t jump out. You can configure it in any shape.
The color mats came from Home depot. They only chewed a tiny little bit one day and left it alone. Hopefully that stands, and I don’t know what safety risks it poses. It is pretty easy to clean. For the first couple weeks you really need something like that, or plain linoleum, since the pee is messy. You want a surface that’s easy to clean. The mats are an added comfort to the bunnies.
Hope all that helps.
~Thank You so incredibly much Traci for sharing your experience and recommendations litter training your bunnies! Your links, photos and tips will help many!
”Oncpcare“ Super Large Rabbit Litter Box: https://www.amazon.com/Oncpcare-Restroom-Chinchilla-Hedgehog-Squirrel/dp/B07L9RQ2NH/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Oncpcare+Super+Large+Rabbit+Litter+Box&qid=1604845425&sr=8-1
“Yesterday’s News” litter: https://www.chewy.com/yesterdays-news-original-unscented/dp/42184?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=Yesterday%27s%20News&utm_term=&gclid=Cj0KCQiA7qP9BRCLARIsABDaZzjypS860FfEUoWNiffVxmX-dkiJUsoVsRcYkHFMmRTUa_ZooqY_Yl4aAoecEALw_wcB
Container Store 27 x 16 size lid: https://www.containerstore.com/s/our-under-bed-box/d?q=under+bed+plastic&productId=10035006
TrafficMASTER Dual Sided Color Foam Mats - Primary Pastel 24 in. x 24 in. x 0.47 in. Playroom Floor (4-Pack): https://www.homedepot.com/p/TrafficMaster-Primary-Pastel-24-in-x-24-in-x-0-47-in-Playroom-Floor-4-Pack-24121HDUS/301152503
Ohio Holland Lops: https://www.ohiohollandlops.com/bunny-care.html
Niteangel Pet Wooden Hay Manger with Seat: https://www.amazon.com/Niteangel-Wooden-Manger-Large-Plywood/dp/B06XGGKH8T
BestPet Pet Playpen Dog Kennel 8 Panel Indoor Outdoor Folding Metal Exercise Pen 32 inch: https://www.amazon.com/BestPet-Heavy-Duty-Pet-Playpen/dp/B003XU3XE4