How to easily Litter Box training a guinea pig ?
Training your guinea pig to use its Litter Box is very important if you want not only that the cage, litter, hay and water bowl of your guinea pig stay clean, but also, for its own hygiene to avoid him diseases and smell bad.
To succeed in teaching your guinea pig to use its litter box to do its business, we will use the natural instinct of these mammals that pushes them to do their business always in the same corner.
You will also need to be very patient because guinea pigs can learn but unlike rabbits for example, they are a little slow to learn and understand what is expected of them.
Is it really possible to train my guinea pig to use its Litter-Box ?
Yes, it is possible to stop your guinea pig from urinating and to put its droppings anywhere in its cage as well as outside the cage.
Guinea pigs are quite intelligent animals that you can train not only to relieve themselves in their litter-box but also other tricks, like their name, standing up to claim their treats, playing ball and many other tricks.
You just have to take your time and be patient with them, they are a bit heavy to understand but as soon as they understand it, it becomes a habit.
I just have to specify here that some guinea pigs will succeed in training more than others, some will understand well and will only do their business in the litter box, while others will have some accidents from time to time and they will simply forget to use the litter box.
Why it is necessary to accustom your guinea pig to use its Litter Box ?
There are many reasons for this, but teaching and getting your guinea pig used to using its litter box to relieve itself is important for the following reasons:
- Your Cavy’s cage will be cleaner and won’t smell like it used to.
- You are not going to change your guinea pig’s hay all the time because of urine or droppings.
- Your guinea pig will be cleaner and its paws will no longer smell like urine.
- The cage of your guinea pig will no longer be a nest for germs and bad bacteria.
- You won’t have to change your guinea pig’s litter every day.
- You will finally be able to replace your guinea pig’s water bottle with a water bowl, which is more practical for your pet.
The steps to follow to teach your guinea pig to use its Litter-Box :
Before you start potty training your piggies , be aware that your guinea pig may not succeed in this training because unlike rabbits, some guinea pigs will not understand the purpose of the Litter-Box and they will only use it to urinate and defecate rarely, so be patient and forgiving to your guinea pig, after all it is just an animal that follows its instincts…
Guinea pig Litter-Box training Step 1 :
The goal of this first step is to get your Guinea Pig to use its litter box when it is in its cage (small space), and then you will slowly widen the perimeter to finally teach your pet to relieve itself in its box even when it is outside its cage.
The first step during the Litter-box training of your guinea pig would be to detect the corners of the cage that your guinea pig uses the most to relieve itself and install the Litter-box in that exact place (avoid those with wooden coupons), make sure that the shelter, the water bowl, the hay…etc are placed in the opposite side of the litter-box.
Clean the whole floor of the cage with water and vinegar to remove all odors of urine, put the Litter-Box (a plastic washing-up bin with low sides that’s big enough for him to stand in comfortably) in the toilet area of your guinea pig, take some dry droppings of your guinea pig and put them in the Litter-Box.
Your guinea pig will not hesitate to use the litter box if he already finds some of his droppings in it.
Take also a handful of clean hay and put it in a corner of the litter box (which will correspond to a corner of the cage) to encourage your guinea pig to go on it, eat hay and put its first droppings in the litter box, do not remove these droppings the first day, to encourage your guinea pig to go back on the box and use it as a toilet corner…
Stay next to your guinea pig afterwards and as soon as he enters the litter-box and does his business, reward him with a small piece of fruit, hoping that he will associate the act with the reward (use very small cubes of fresh apple as a treat).
If your guinea pig seems to understand that the litter-box is his new toilet area, you will move on to the next step which is to enlarge the space.
Practical exercise for the litter box training :
This exercise is to be done twice a week, you will actually feed your guinea pig its daily ration of vegetables by holding it on your lap.
Also have two slices of apple in your hand, one to give it to your guinea pig if he becomes impatient and wants to go back in the cage and the other to reward him with it later.
The purpose of this exercise is to give your guinea pig its vegetables and to hold it for at least 10-15 minutes so that it has the need to pee after it has eaten its veggies.
After that you will put him back in his cage but you have to put him in the litter box and hold him there till he do its business and invite him to eat the piece of apple in your hand.
You are going to repeat this exercise and the goal is to make your pig pee as much as possible in the litter box so that he gets used to do it by himself.
The second piece of apple should only be used as a reward if your guinea pig goes to the litter box.
Litter-Box Training a guinea Pig Step 2 :
If your guinea pig has understood the usefulness of the litter box, you will use the Baby gate to create a larger space, in your bedroom, living room, kitchen or hallway, put in this space, a few pellets, the water bowl of the guinea pig and the Litter-Box in the opposite corner of this space (water and food on one side and the litter box on the other).
Use the litter box in the cage without cleaning it too much to encourage the guinea pig to use it when it smells its own urine, which will encourage it to use it as a toilet area.
If your guinea pig understands and starts to use the litter box, reward it with small pieces of its favorite fruit, if not, try to reduce the space by tightening the baby gates to reduce the space and widen it as the guinea pig uses its litter box as a toilet corner.
You can also use two or three different litter boxes of the same kind to encourage the guinea pig to use them by placing them in places where it has already relieved itself.
When I tell you to reward your guinea pig with a piece of fruit, apple for example, I mean a very small piece of 1/2 cm cube.
For more information on the rules to follow to feed your guinea pig, please read this article too.
The secret to a successful litter-box training for your guinea pig:
Patient is the secret to teaching your Guinea pig to use the litter box.
Guinea pigs are a little slow to understand, but if you are persistent , you will surely succeed in making him understand the usefulness of the litter box and he will surely end up using it.
Also try to stay as long as possible next to the cage, and every time he goes to the litter-box, reward him with a small piece of apple, sweet, and when he goes to the litter-box, take a tissue, Collect the droppings and place them in the litter box ( just do it and go wach your hands , you have to lol ) , wet another tissue with vinegar and clean the area where your guinea pig has defecated to remove the smell and discourage your pet from defecating in the same area and encourage it to use the litter box as a toilet.
Another tip for a successful training:
Like rabbits, guinea pigs hate to pee and poop near their bed , food and shelter.
To force your guinea pig to use its Litter-Box during its training, try to arrange the time and scatter the pieces of vegetables everywhere in the cage except near the litter-box.
This will incite the guinea pig to use the litter-box to do its business if it does not want to dirty its food and living space (bed, shelter, toys, …).
Some conditions to accelerate the potty training of your cavy:
1-Choose a litter box big enough so that your cavy can enter inside (climb on it) and turn without its legs can touch the edges of the box.
2-Try to hide this litter-box with a piece of sheet for example in order to give a little privacy to your guinea pig (make sure there is less light in the corner where you will put the litter box). This will make it more comfortable and will be more likely to use the litter box as a toilet area, and the Guinea pig feels vulnerable when it goes to the bathroom, and will love a camouflaged litter box.
3-Choose another material than your cage litter to line the litter box, and by doing this, you will help your guinea pig to easily distinguish the place from the rest of the cage and he will remember this litter box more easily than if his litter is the same as the rest of the cage. Choose a soft and very absorbent material, made of paper or hemp and avoid cat litter.
4-Don’t move the hay tray too far away from the litter box, so your guinea pig won’t have to go through the whole cage every time it feels the need to pee or defecate.
5-Add one or two more litter boxes if you have several guinea pigs in the same large cage and if these guinea pigs relieve themselves in different corners.
6-Collect the droppings that are not in the litter-box and put them inside and do not forget to empty them every day or once every two days.
7-Don’t forget to reward your guinea pig with a piece of its favorite fruit every time it uses its litter box, this will speed up its training.
8- Never yell at your guinea pig if you catch it doing its business outside its litter box, just pick up the droppings and put them in the box.
What is the best Litter box for my Cavy?
- I do not hide you, the commercial ones are almost all the same, they are efficient and I have no favorite to propose you, I would say maybe the “Ware Manufacturing Small Pet Pan“, it seems good.
- It can go very well in a corner of your piggy’s cage.
- It has a grid on the ground, so you will put a litter on it to catch the droppings of the guinea pig while his urine will go to the bottom of the box, so the legs of your pet will not get dirty with urine.
- Just take it out and empty it before cleaning it and put it back in its place, it’s quite handy.
- You can easily attach and detach it from the bars of the guinea pig’s cage and it seems to me that people have given it a good rating on online stores.
It’s up to you now
Every guinea pig has its own habits, try to understand your pet’s habits in order to adapt the litter-box training to your guinea pig’s ones and with a little persistence you will surely succeed in persuading him to use the litter-box at least in the majority of cases which will greatly reduce the odors in the guinea pig’s cage, the waste of litter and hay and you could finally, install your guinea pig’s cage in your own room.