The best way to potty train a ferret

M Samy pet blogger and author at famillypet

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Hey! M. Samy here , Welcome to my Blog I'm an animal lover, especially pets and Really concerned about their well being ; I've been around and caring for all my life and Now ; a full-time Pet blogger at your service . My motto here at Famillypet is: "Pets First" ... Read More

What is the Best way to Potty train a Ferret ?

The best way to potty train a ferret is to start by teaching him to use his litter box in his cage and then gradually expand the perimeter and teach him to use the litter boxes in every room he has access to.

the best and easiest way to potty train a ferret

How to Potty train your ferret the right way ?

Now that I told you how to create your home made ferret litter box and which litter to buy for your ferret, I will now teach you how to step by step and the easiest way to potty train your ferrets, so that they will only relieve themselves in their litter box or on the potty pads you install for them, so you will keep your house all clean and avoid bad smells in your room or your ferrets room.

If you don’t train your ferret to relieve itself in its litter box, you will find poop everywhere, under your furniture, in the corners, on the wall, so you have to stop this bad potty behavior …. Ets 

So here is , step by step , how to stop your ferret from making secret potty spots , from offering you daily rogue poops , how potty train your ferret and which supplies you’ll need for this training :

Supplies you’ll need to quickly potty train your ferret :

1- A good litter box in the right place : 

The best litter box for your ferret should be wide enough for him, he should turn easily in it

It should have lower lip at its front site and higher back lips, use a potty pan (1 in height) and put it in a corner so that your ferret feels safe, there are two walls behind him and in front he can watch his surroundings while doing his business, otherwise he will refuse to use it if he can’t see in front of him (a too high edge) or if there is a space behind him!

2- A safe litter for your ferret potty training :

You must also use a safe litter for your ferret, do not just use cat litter, many are toxic as Clay or Silica based litters, buy instead paper-based litters or puppy Extra-large pee pads (absorbent pads), they are the best, very absorbent, retain odors and easy to change.

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If your ferret wants to play with his pee pad, mess with it and go under it… you can tape it down to the litter box, litter pan, wall (free roam) so it will stay in place.

If you want to switch from litter to pee pads, start by putting the litter on top of the potty pan and gradually remove the litter, and after a few days, your ferret will get used to his new bathroom.

You’d better teach your ferret to use both litter and potty pads. You can use activated carbon pee/potty pads as well ( they have an excellent rating on Amazon but never tried them ! ).

3- Training treats for your ferret :

You will also need healthy treats that your ferrets like to use for praise and positive reinforcement, Salmon oil is very popular with ferret owners for this kind of training, but you can use treats that your ferret loves the most, small pieces of chicken for example or Wysong Ferret Archetype as well.

The best Ferret Potty training method:

Ferrets are known to do many things at once and it is very difficult for them to concentrate on one thing at a time.

The ferret potty training method that gives quicker results is to start your ferret potty training in his cage (to avoid environmental distractions), then in his play pen and finally get your ferret used to using his litter box in every room he has access to.

How to set up your ferret cage before you start potty training  ?

ferret cage set up for the easiest way to potty train a ferret

Ferrets don’t like to go to the bathroom where they eat, sleep and play, and it’s exactly this instinct that you will use to train your ferret to relieve himself only in his litter box:

1- Install the litter box in a corner of the cage, preferably the bottom of the cage and put on top of it some litter based on compressed paper or potty pad preferably.

2- Put a glove or use a bag or a wipe (unscented), take some of you ferret old poop and put in the corner of the litter box to make your ferret understand that from now on, this place is his bathroom

3- You will then fill all the empty space of your ferret’s cage with his toys, water and food bowls … to leave him only the hammock and the litter box.you will force him to use his litter box to do his business because there is no other empty space in his cage.

A step by step ferret potty training:

Now that you have everything you need in place, it’s time to start your ferret potty training process:

Step 1 ferret potty training inside the cage:

Duration of this first step of ferret potty training : between 7 and 15 days.

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Once your ferret’s cage is ready, prepare your treat in your hand or Salmon oil, let your ferret sleep and after a while, wake him up gently and do not let him out of his cage, because he will surely want to relieve himself within 15 minutes.

Ideally, and this is what will probably happen, after a few minutes of waking him up, your ferret will relieve himself right next to the poop you put in the litter box. Make sure you praise and reward your ferret as soon as he finishes relieving himself so that he will quickly associate the fact of using this place as a bathroom with the treats and the caresses (positive reinforcement)

Your ferret may backup in the corner of the litter pan, sit there and not relieve himself (ghosting or fake pooping), in this case, you should never reward him, wait until he does his business for real for him to get praise and treat.

Once your ferret has been rewarded, you can take him out of the cage as well so that he associates (make a connection) doing his business in the litter box with going outside the cage to have his play time as a reward.

You should also know that your ferret will only relieve itself after 3 to 4 hours (according to the American Ferret Association) if it is fed kibble and a little less if your ferret diet is raw, Frankenprey or whole prey diet.

After your ferret gets tired of playing, he will choose a place to sleep and take a nap, pick him up gently and put him back in his cage so that he wakes up once again in his cage and does the training over and over again until your ferret finally adopts this new good potty habit and only relieves himself in his litter box in the cage.

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Little by little, your ferret will learn and understand that good things happen to him (treat, praise and playtime) when he uses his litter box.

Very important note:

You will gradually remove one object at a time from the cage to free up the space and at the same time monitor your ferret’s behavior. If he continues to use his litter box, treat, praise and playtime, if not put the removed object back in its place and never reward your ferret, let him out of course but put him back in his cage faster than usual to continue the potty training.

Step 2 : Free Roam Ferret potty training 

the best method to potty training a ferret

After your ferret has learned to relieve itself in its cage only in its litter box, it is now time to let them graduate to the rest of the house.

You can start by doing the same set-up, but this time using a playpen to mark off a play area larger than the crate, or you can use the entire room for this stage of training if you’re confident your ferret is learning quickly.

Very important note:

Never give your ferret access to more than one room as soon as he finishes potty training inside his cage, gradually increase the limits of his living space starting with his playpen, then one room, then two rooms once he learns to keep his first room clean and so on until he finally learns to use your litter box everywhere he goes in your house.

Always make him master a room to get him into the next one, continue to make sure he also uses his litter box in his cage from time to time by leaving him in it for a few minutes after he wakes up.

How to prepare the room and start this Final step of your ferret potty training ?

the quickest way to potty train a ferret

1- It’s the same as the previous preparation of the cage, you choose a free corner in the room where you are going to install the litter box (litter pan), put a little bit of his poop, just a poop in the corner of the litter box

2- Since your ferret will only relieve himself in one of the four corners of the room, you will have to close all the other corners by putting his food bowls in one corner, his toys in another corner, for example his fleece bedding in another corner…etc

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Don’t forget the corner behind the bedroom door, you’ll have to put something there too to discourage them to go to bathroom there.

Once your ferret is awake or awake yourself, don’t leave him in the cage and take him directly to his room, the one you have prepared for training, prepare your treat (salmon oil) and wait for the right moment (just after your ferret does his business and finishes leaving the litter box (as soon as he does his business and takes his last paw out of the litter box, you reward him).

Ideally, your ferret will quickly understand that he needs to relieve himself in his litter box and you should be there to reward him with a little oil or his favorite treat and some petting to encourage him to always use his litter box as a bathroom.

Important note:

You have to reward your ferret even when he pees in his litter box, not only the poop!

After a week, you will start testing your ferret by releasing the other corners of the room, one by one and see if your ferret will continue to use the litter box.

If you release a corner of the room and your ferret will relieve itself in that corner and not in the litter box, take the litter box and move it to the new corner, put the poop in it and see if it is the corner your ferret has chosen. If not, put the litter box back in its old place and the objects in the other corner and repeat the training.

This is the process you’ll follow for potty training your ferret in every room of your home, just make sure you reward him at the right time so he associates his new potty behavior with good things that happen to him like praise, treat and playtime.

What is the best time of day for ferret potty training?

The best time to start training your ferret is early in the morning, when your ferret is about to wake up, interact with him, be there and attentive to reward him as soon as he does his business in his litter box and reinforce this good potty behavior.

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You can then continue the training at dusk when you get home from work.

Signs your ferret is about to poop or pee ?

There are a few behaviors that indicate that your ferret is about to poop or pee:

When your ferret will suddenly stop playing, running, etc., and go straight to the corner of the room 

When your deep-sleeping ferret wakes up quickly, gets on his paws without waiting and goes straight to a corner of the room, Flip its body around, back up and put their tail up and follow you with his eyes !  There, it’s too late, your ferret is about to do his business.

Last tips to succeed in your ferret potty training :

1- Repetition and consistency when potty training your ferrets :

Ferrets go to the bathroom within 15 to 20 minutes after waking up and they relieve themselves on average once every 3 to 4 hours.

You can monitor your ferret and keep track of his own potty program and if you want to succeed in potty training, you must be present each time your ferret poops.

If you work during the day, you can train your ferret early in the morning (around 5 AM) and at dusk.

During the first step, leave the items in the cage when you go to work to force your ferret to use his litter box, and reward him once he does his business in his litter box when you come home from work and wake him up, do not reward because you found poop in the litter box, wait until he does his business in front of you and in his litter box to reward him so that he has associated the act with the reward

2- To successfully potty train your ferret make sure that If your goes to bathroom in the wrong spot, you must immediately correct that bad behavior by taking him preferably before he does his business and put him in his litter box  

3- Ferrets hate stepping in old poop and pee , that’s why It is important that you clean your ferret’s litter box very frequently if you want your ferret to continue using it as a bathroom.

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If the litter box is full of poop, especially in the center, your ferret will look for another clean spot to relieve itself, so make sure you change the absorbent pad or clean the litter box (by scooping out especially the poop) at least once a day. Don’t forget to wash the potty pad or litter box and scrub it with soap to remove odors at least once a month, or even less during the warm season.

Also have your ferret cover the poop with a piece of toilet paper every time he does his business so that he doesn’t put his paws on it and make the whole room stinky.

4-Your ferret will surely do his business accidentally somewhere else than in his litter box, never yell at him or hit him!!! just make your ferret understand that he has misbehaved, clean the place well to remove the smell and put something in that corner so that your ferret will go back to do his business in his litter box, reward him the next time you catch him doing his business in his litter box.

5-If your ferret does his business next to his litter box and not inside, know that it is a sign that either the litter box is full of poop and pee, so clean his litter box more often, or it is too small for him, or he does not like the litter box (the smell or the texture) and you must change it.

Final Thoughts :

Ferrets are very smart pets and if you add the right accessories, and follow the steps as I told you in this article you will surely succeed to potty train your ferret in less time.

The secret to succeed in this training is to be very patient, go step by step and never forget to reward your ferret when he succeeds in his exercise.

Consistency is also an essential point when potty training your ferret, continue to reward your ferret for his new good potty behavior even after he has finished his training.