Image of a toilet and a rabbit. The caption reads "How to litter train a rabbit."

Rabbits can be easily litter trained if you follow a system that teaches your rabbit to use a litter box in a series of steps. Rabbits are capable of learning where their litter box is and they will learn to use it anytime they have to go to the bathroom.

How to litter train rabbits

Litter training rabbits is easy IF you follow the correct process including the pre-requisites. I have had many house rabbits in my lifetime and have successfully litter trained all my rabbits the exact same way. It is important to read everything on this page to successfully litter train your rabbit.

Prerequisites to litter training

It is very important that your rabbit is either spayed or neutered BEFORE you start litter training. Bucks, male rabbits will spray urine everywhere if they are not neutered. Does, female rabbits will urinate in every corner of your house if they are not spayed.

Spaying and neutering are very important not only for litter training purposes but also for your rabbit’s health, happiness and lifespan. The procedure is not expensive and is the right thing to do for your pet bunny.

The process for litter training your rabbit

After the process I will give you details and recommendations on things like what litter is safe, cleaning and litter training mistakes.

Step 1) Prison – You need a rabbit cage with a water bottle (no bowls), a hay feeder and food dish on the inside. This is going to be your litter box so make sure it is where you want it permanently. It is important that it is in a place that your rabbit will have easy,  24-7 access.

Keep your rabbit locked in his or her cage/litter box for 3 days. Do not take the rabbit out during these days. You may notice that your rabbit wants out and will chew or tug on the cage. This short “prison” term is key to litter training and will benefit your rabbit soon. Don’t cave in, be strong!

Step 2) The exercise yard – On the morning of what would be day four it is time to open the exercise yard. You will need to place some temporary fencing or a barrier around his or her cage/litter box. A 5-foot by 5-foot area will work. After this is set up you can open your rabbits cage. Do not be alarmed if there are some poop pellets in front of your rabbit’s cage, this is normal behavior. Basically, your rabbit is saying “hey this is mine, everyone stay out, I own it.”

I keep a carpet remnant under my rabbit’s cage that is large enough to cover the floor in from of the litter box to catch all these poop pellets. I keep a small handheld vacuum next to the litter pan to suck them up quick as needed.

This step should be in place for 4 to 5 days and your rabbit should be going to the bathroom in his or her cage/litter box.

Step 3) Parole – It is time to remove the temporary fence from around your rabbit’s cage/litter box. Keep the door shut to the room your rabbit is in or block off the exit. If your rabbit starts pooping or peeing out of the litter box, then repeat step two. This step should last for 5 days.

Step 4) Release – Allow your rabbit to roam freely around your house. If he or she is having problems, then repeat step 3.

It is important to create a safe environment for your pet rabbit. Make sure that electrical cords are up and out of the way or protected. Rabbits love chewing cords and it is possible they could get electrocuted. If you have reclining chairs in your house, like a lazy boy make sure your rabbit is not inside the chair before you lean back or put the footrest up. These types of chairs have many moving parts that could severely injure or kill your rabbit. Rocking chairs can also be dangerous.

Best type of litter for rabbits

I have a post I did in the dedicated to this subject but here is my recommendation in short.

It is very important to only use non-clumping clay cat litter for rabbits. The clumping type of clay litter is dangerous to rabbits and can kill them. If a rabbit intentionally or accidentally eats some of the clumping litter it will swell up inside their digestive tract and will cause GI Stasis. This is a dangerous condition that will kill a rabbit within a day or two. It is important to get your rabbit to a veterinarian quickly if the have not pooped for 12 to 24 hours.

Here is the a post about the best litter for rabbits.

You should never use pine or cedar shavings in your rabbit’s litter tray unless they are kiln dried. If they are not kiln dried they will emit a poisonous gas that can cause health issues for your rabbit in the future. Here is a post about the best bedding for rabbits.

Best type of litter box set up

What you are looking for is a cage/litter box with a deep plastic tray and a door that can stay open so your bunny can enter and exit as needed. Here is an example of what I use.

image of the best litter box setup for rabbits.

What you want to do is to put about 3 to 4 inches of the non-clumping cat litter in the tray. I do not use wood chips or any other type of “bedding” products. They are waste since your rabbit will not be living in his cage. Keep your rabbit’s food bowl, water bottle and hay feeder in the cage/litter box.

It is best to have a cage with a fold down door like pictured above. The door ends up being used as a ramp to enter and exit the cage/litter box. It is important to put a thick piece of cloth like a washcloth over the ramp so your rabbit’s feet can’t get stuck between the wires. You can also use a piece of cardboard to cover the wires tied on with twist ties or small zip ties.

It may seem like a waste to have the cage part of this set up, but it is not for several reasons. One it gives you somewhere to hang your hay feeder water bottle, do not use a water bowl. The other reason is that you still need somewhere to lock up your rabbit where he or she has access to food and water.

If you are having guests over, your carpets cleaned, remodeling done or are doing something in your house that may make it unsafe for your rabbit to be roaming around it is nice to have somewhere safe to keep your rabbit.

Another thing to keep in mind is that if you ever have a house fire you can quickly cage up your rabbit and get him or out of the house quickly and safely. In addition to getting your rabbit out quickly he or she will have food and water.

Rabbit Rules: What you should never do

There are a few things you do not want to do while litter training your rabbit.

  • Never ignore your rabbit – During steps 3 and 4 it is important to keep a close eye on your rabbit. If she or he is urinating or pooping outside of the litter box it is important to immediately put them in their litter pan.
  • Keep out – Do not pet or play with your rabbit when there in their cage/litter box. This is their space and it should be respected. Obviously, you must supply them with food, water and hay but keep interactions to a minimum when they are in their cage/litter box.
  • Rabbits choice – So when you need to put your rabbit in his cage herd him or her to the cage so they “make the choice” to jump into their cage/litter box.
  • No vegetation – Do not put vegetation inside the cage/litter pan since it can be contaminated. I use a separate platter next to my rabbit’s cage/litter box that is only for vegetables and leafy greens.

Common litter training mistakes

The biggest mistake made while litter training rabbits is trying to rush the process. Rabbits are smart animals but require time and patience to learn. They are creatures of habit and need the time to create those habits. Take your time and if the process I have laid out is not working extend the times.

Another common mistake is not correcting “mistakes” or “accidents” immediately. If your rabbit pees anywhere or poops a significant amount outside of his or her litter box you need to correct the action immediately. If you let the behavior continue even for a short time it will become habit.

Stress can create problems when litter training your bunny. If you have just moved, introduced a new pet, had a child or have anything that has disrupted your household then I would give your rabbit time to adjust to those changes before litter training.

Poop Pellets and litter boxes

I mentioned this specific point earlier in my post, but I want to emphasize this one more time. Your rabbit will most likely leave some poop pellets in front of his or her litter box/cage. This is normal behavior and should be expected. Basically, his or her poop pellets mark the entrance to his or her area saying, “this is mine, keep out.” With that being said urinating outside of the litter pan should not be happening.

Cleaning your rabbits Litter box

If you use the litter box/cage I recommend cleanup is very easy. While your rabbit is sleeping during the day, I take the cage portion off, stick a trash bag over one end and dump everything out and scrape any litter that is stuck to the bottom. I do not try to scoop out the poop pellets and pee spots from the litter. After I have dumped out the old litter, I simply replace it with new litter to a depth of about three inches.

I do keep an air cleaner next to my rabbit cage for several reasons including the following:

  • It keeps the fur down. Rabbits have incredibly soft down fur that floats easily and goes everywhere. You would not believe how much fur I get out of my air cleaner filter.
  • When you pour in the new litter into your litter box you will get some dust that billows up. The air cleaner when turned up to high captures all this dust.
  • Rabbit pee smells and the air cleaner keeps any odor from escaping.

You should clean your rabbits cage out weekly and make sure to look for any signs of diarrhea.

Age and litter training

Older rabbits are much easier to litter train than younger rabbits. Baby rabbits need a little bit of time before you can litter train them.  Older rabbits learn faster and are easier going so expect to take more time to litter train your rabbit if he or she is young.

FAQ about Litter training

Q. How long does it take to litter train your rabbit?
A. An adult rabbit will take about 12 days to litter train while younger rabbits will take a bit longer. It is also important to keep in minds all rabbits have different personalities and some will learn faster than others.
Q. I have tried litter training and my bunny is still peeing in the same spot over and over. What do I do?
A. If you have tried my way of litter training, your rabbit is fixed, and it is just not working. The only thing I can tell you to do is put a litter box where your pet rabbit keeps urinating. Sometimes animals do not respond like we expect or want them to.
Q. My rabbit is peeing in his food bowl. What is up with that?
A. One reason this happens is because your rabbit is mad that his or her litter box is dirty. The other reason this happens is unknown to me. My current rabbit, Mr. Bunny always pees in his food bowl. I had to elevate it a little bit and that solved the problem.
Q. Can all rabbits be litter trained?
A. Probably not but the vast majority can.
Q. What age should rabbits be spayed or neutered?
A. At about 6 months of age but you should follow you veterinarians’ recommendations.

About the Author

My name is Vanessa and I love my buns. My current house rabbit is Mr. Bunny, he is a black and white Dutch that just turned 9 years old.

I believe that rabbits are a magnificent animal that make great pets for SOME people. My mission is to share what I have learned about rabbits over the past 20 years to improve the relationship between our pets and us. Please contact me or comment if you have any questions or comments.