Rabbit Litter Info

Rabbit Litter Information

The Litter Box

Rabbits are smart creatures that can be taught to use a litter box relatively easily if you know how to train them. But once you have them trained, you need to know what type of rabbit litter to use and which to avoid. We cover rabbit litter types, and how to train your rabbit to use a litter box on this page.

Rabbit Litter Information

Types of Rabbit Litter

Not all types of litter on the market are safe to use with your rabbit. You want a rabbit litter that doesn’t have any toxic fumes or dust, and one that your rabbit isn’t tempted to eat. Below is a list of rabbit litter types we recommend you use, and those we urge you to avoid.

Types of Rabbit Litter

Recommended

Recycled Paper Cat Litter

Recycled Paper Litters: Usually the most reliable and safe option for rabbit litter. Many recycled paper litters are marketed for cats, but they work just as well for rabbits. Some common brands are Yesterday’s News, Frisco Paper Pellet Litter, Oxbow Pelleted Wheat Straw Litter, etc. 

Compressed Wood or Sawdust Pellets: Compressed wood or sawdust pellets can be a good, affordable litter option. While Pine and Softwood Shavings should not be used for rabbits, compressed pine and softwood pellets are fine. Some common brands of compressed wood pellet litters are: Pine Pellet Litter/Bedding-Small Pet Select, Pine Pellet Stall Bedding, Naturally Fresh Pellet Unscented Non-Clumping Walnut Cat Litter By Naturally Fresh, etc.

Cellulose Fiber Litter: CareFresh Rabbit Litter is the most popular form of this type of litter. These are safe for bunny as long as you get the ones without baking soda. The only downside to this litter in our opinion is that is sticks to your bunny’s fur pretty easily and gets everywhere.

Do Not Use

Pine and Cedar Shavings (aka softwood shavings). These types of products are toxic to rabbits and have been shown to cause liver disease. Don’t use these products. (Pelleted pine is safe).

NEVER use Traditional Clumping Cat Litters. This type of litter is very dangerous when ingested, even inadvertently during grooming. It will cause rock-hard blockages in your rabbit that will have to be surgically removed.

Wheat-type litters should be avoided because rabbits will often ingest it. Because it is comprised of wheat, it is very high in carbohydrates and can cause obesity, excessive cecal production, diarrhea, bacterial imbalance, and other health issues.

Any Kind of Scented Litter: These types can either cause respiratory issues or make your rabbit just not want to use the litterbox.

Rabbit Litter Information

Litter Training Your Rabbit

Litter training your rabbit can take one to several weeks depending on your rabbit. Some get the idea of using a litter box right away, while others will put up a protest about it. This section covers the best practices to set yourself up for rabbit litter training success, and the steps to achieve a litter trained bunny.

Rabbit Litter Training Tips and Tricks

Spay or Neuter Your Rabbit

Having a rabbit who is spayed or neutered drastically improves litter training chances. Fixing your rabbit eliminates their urge to make their territory with urine and feces. This in turn helps improve their litterbox habits and behavior. Not to mention makes everything much less smelly! 🤧

You can find more about Spaying and Neutering benefits and information here.

Never Scold Your Rabbit

Scolding for bad behavior will just make bunny untrusting and resentful towards you.
 
We’re of the training mind to ignore bad behavior and reward for good behavior. Remember, there is no such thing as a “perfect” pet. Be patient. Some rabbits catch on quick, while others take more time.
 
You can help prevent accidents by gently reminding your rabbit to go back to their litterbox every 10 minutes. You can do this by leading them back to the box via a treat dangling in front of their face. Reward good behavior by giving treats when your rabbit is in their litterbox. This will help them understand a bit better that the litter box is a good place to be.

Place Hay Above or in Litter Box

Rabbits use the potty while they eat. So either place the hayrack above the litter box or place their hay directly in the litter box. This will help them learn that using the bathroom happens there.

If rabbit moves to a corner where there’s no box or lifts up their tail in the “that way”, cry “no!” in a single, sharp shout. Once they pause, gently herd them back to a litterbox.

Be careful not to make the litterbox seem like a punishment. The handful of hay in the box makes it a more welcoming place. After rabbit first uses the box, praise them and give them their favorite treat. Once they use the box a couple of times, you’re well on your way, as your rabbit’s litter training is well on its way.

This is a great photo of how you can place hay in bunny’s litterbox to help with litter training. 

Photo Credit: BunnyApproved.com

Use Lots of Litterboxes!

When you begin the litter training journey, have lots of litter boxes on hand as they’re going to come in handy. Many rabbits want to be in control of where they potty, and therefore may protest when you first put a litter box where they usually do the deed. You may put a litter box in one place, and then they suddenly go use the potty in another corner. It’s perfectly normal for rabbits to do this. You will want to simply place a new litter box in the new pottying place. Some stubborn rabbits may need 4 to 6 litter boxes in their area before they give in and begin to choose the litter box. They will come around eventually, patience is key.

Keep 1 Litter Box Inside Rabbit's Cage

Start with a box in the cage and one or more boxes in the rabbit’s running space. As already stated, if the rabbit potties in a corner somewhere either in the cage or run area, move the litterbox to that space, or add a new one to the spot.

Restrict Bunny's Freedom. Slowly Increase Their Area

Starting with a small area for your rabbit to begin litter training will help everyone with the process. Having a smaller area helps naturally urge your bunny to use the litter box because there are fewer places to choose from.

Once they’re using the box in their cage, open their door and allow them into a smaller running space area. The size of a regular x-pen is adequate. Don’t immediately let them out into the entire room or house just yet.

With the new space, watch bunny go in and out on their own, and move or add litterboxes to the area they potty at. As they get better trained in their first area, you can increase the space. Don’t hurry this process. If the area becomes very big or includes a second floor, be sure to include more litter boxes.

Remember, as rabbit becomes more confident, they’ll start using fewer boxes. Once you see that, you can start removing the un-used boxes.

Get your rabbit into a daily routine and try not to vary it. Rabbits are very habitual and once a routine is established, they usually stick with it very well.

You can download this handout which summarizes the Rabbit Litter Training Tips and Tricks

Rabbit Litter Information

How to Clean Your Rabbit's Litter Box

Rabbits are sensitive creatures. Harsh chemicals such as bleach and multipurpose cleaners should be avoided when cleaning their litter box. Vinegar is the best product to clean litter boxes without any toxic fumes. Soap and water are also great for when you need a bit more elbow grease involved.

  • Vinegar for cleaning is your best friend. It’s safe, natural, and effective. 
  • Never use Lysol or other similar products, the fumes of which can poison a rabbit over time – even when well-rinsed.
  • Scoop out soiled litter daily or cover with fresh litter.
  • Scrub box once a week or more often if needed. Use white vinegar to remove urine build-up. Cover bottom of pan with vinegar and allow to soak several minutes or longer. Scrape with a metal scraper or scrub with a wire brush.
  • To really disinfect the litterbox (not needed every time) use a mild bleach solution (2-3 tablespoons bleach to 1-2 gallons water).

All Natural Multi-purpose Vinegar is great for cleaning your rabbit’s litter box.

Rabbit Litter Information

How to Clean Up "Accidents"

No bunny was ever litter trained without several accidents along the way. And don’t be surprised when the occasional accident happens even after they’re littered trained. Thankfully rabbit poop is pretty easy to clean up with a quick flick of a broom into a dustpan, but their urine can be a bit tougher sometimes. Here’s how to clean up those accidental puddles:

how to clean up after your rabbit
  • Fresh puddles: blot with paper towels/rags. Soak with white vinegar or club soda and blot. Repeat as necessary until stain/odor is removed
  • Dried puddles: same as above or use an enzyme product such as Nature’s Miracle.
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