If there’s one thing you want to get right from day one it’s how to toilet train your kitten.
Kittens are extremely intelligent animals so as long as you get them started with toilet training right away, you should have them fully trained in no time. Here are five important steps to follow if you want to make sure your kitten’s toilet training goes smoothly.
1. Get the right litter tray
Start with a basic plastic litter box that your kitten can walk into. Most cats like the choice of two litter trays to do their business. You should look for ones that are large enough for them to move around in and have walls that aren’t too high, so that they can easily climb in when it’s time to go. At this early stage, avoid anything with a cover, door or steps. Cats don’t like using a litter tray that is too small so don’t forget your kitten is growing and you may need to upsize to larger boxes at some point.
2. Choose the best litter
Choosing the best cat litter for kittens is just as important as the tray itself when toilet training a kitten. Cat litter is available in a variety of materials and each have their pros and cons. Your kitten will usually have been introduced to cat litter from their breeder, so try and find out what type they have already been using. Options vary from clay litter, which forms clumps when wet for easy removal, to crystal litter which locks in moisture and odour, to natural litters which are eco-friendly and produce less dust. If your kitten has unique characteristics like long hair or allergies, ask a friendly Petbarn team member about our range of specialty litters. Try our Cat Litter Finder tool to be matched with the litter that best suits you and your pet.
3. Find the right spot
Your kitten likes privacy when they do their business just as much as you do, so place the litter tray in a quiet spot out of the way of household traffic and away from their food and water bowl.
4. Control their space
When you bring your new kitten home, it’s best to allocate them a smaller space, like the laundry, until they get used to their new home. This will help with toilet training as it keeps them close to the litter tray and encourages them to use it when they need to go.
5. Reinforce good behaviour
If you want your kitten to quickly learn how to use their litter tray, you should get in the habit of physically placing them in it when they first wake up in the morning, a few minutes after eating and drinking, and after play time. Gently encourage them with your words and never raise your voice. If your kitten has an accident on your carpet or couch, never punish them. They won’t understand and will only learn to fear you, seeking safer places to go next time. If you catch your kitten squatting, quickly take them to the litter box and gently praise and pat them.
More tips to keep in mind
Keep their litter box clean
Cats like clean environments and, if litter boxes become dirty, they’re likely to seek out somewhere cleaner to go. Get in the habit of checking the litter whenever you feed your kitten, and give the litter box a thorough wash once a week (earlier if needed of course) with a cat-friendly enzymatic cleaner. On the other hand, when trainee kittens have accidents around the house, be sure to clean the area immediately and thoroughly to remove any remaining odour – as failing to do so can see repeat accidents happen. An enzymatic cleaner is best for this.
Quickly clean up any messes
If your cat urinates or defecates somewhere other than the litter tray, you need to clean it thoroughly to ensure your cat cannot smell their waste and create an association between toilet time and a place that is not intended as a bathroom. Make sure you don’t use a product with ammonia, as urine contains ammonia. If your cat defecates outside the box, scoop it up and place it in the litter tray so your cat can smell it and create an association between relieving themselves and using the litter tray.
How to clean diarrhoea
Cats can be just as prone to diarrhoea as we are, due to dietary issues and other factors. If this happens, try to stay patient and keep encouraging your kitten to go in the litter tray as this will minimise the mess you have to clean up. If you’re wondering how to go about cleaning up diarrhoea, you can use standard household cleaners and then eliminate the odour with cat clean up products.
Toilet training your kitten should be an easy task as long as you are prepared. Patience and consistency are the keys to helping your kitten learn how to use their litter tray and if you do run into any troubles, don’t hesitate to ask your local Greencross Vets for advice.