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Thread: Stopped using litter tray completely - help please

  1. #1

    Default Stopped using litter tray completely - help please

    Hello everyone! Help desperately needed to nip this in the bud as much as possible.

    Our new rabbit (only 11 weeks old) is amazing, sociable and seems very happy (binkies, loves to be stroked, flops down next to us etc) but we have a problem with his toilet training. We have had him 2,5 weeks.

    He started off using a set corner of his cage, where the hay is placed (some in a hay feeder which he ignores entirely and some loose, added on 3 times daily), and did his wee and poo there. We have an enclosure added which we started off having open daytime when someone is home, and close it night time after he has jumped in voluntarily. But over the course of the last week he has gone from sometimes pooing at a certain area of the edge of the enclosure AND using his normal litter area, to also weeing in the same place near the edge of the enclosure, to now the last two days ONLY using this new area as a toilet, and the cage completely clean.

    What can I do? I know I can add a litter tray there too, and move it slowly to a side area, which I will do (have ordered a tray) but it is right in the middle of the living room and I would like to encourage him to first and foremost use the cage area.

    I have tried:

    - cleaning the area in the enclosure with biological washing liquid and water to break down enzymes,
    - doing the aforementioned but also spraying perfume (different pages suggest different tactics so tried them all),
    - changing the material underneath (had just a rug and the wooden floor initially - FOOLISH!) and no there is a wax cloth there, moving the enclosure so that the exact area is not in the same place if that makes sense

    He never gets fed where he now does all his toileting, I clean his cage daily, without weird sprays but remove most droppings, leaving a few for encouragement.

    It just seems to have escalated the wrong way despite following all the advice and I want to try to change it back becausd we want him to roam free in the living room when we are home eventually (obviously there will be accidents and we might need several litter trays around the room, but for him to not use the cage at all seems strange).

    I feel like we haven't given him a vast area quickly, maybe 1 metre by 2,5 metres inside the enclosure, but last night we shut him in at 10pm and he was let out at 4am (my partner gets up early) and he hadn't had a wee in all that time and went out and did a HUGE wee in the enclosure. I am mystified.

    Is it best to have him in the cage for a couple of days to help him rediscover the toilet area there? The cage is large and he has plenty of enrichment (digging box, branches etc).

    Many thanks for reading!

  2. #2

    Default

    He is approaching puberty. Loss of litter tray training is normal. Things should improve significantly once he has been neutered . In the meantime you will just need to provide several litter trays


    I used to be ‘Jack’s-Jane’ but I have been logged out of that account and I can’t get back in !

    A Book written by a very brave RU member
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  3. #3

    Default

    I did think about that... But at 11 weeks already, to totally abandon one tray and solely use one other area? Slowly increasing the use of one area over the course of a week? It feels as though has simply shifted preference for some reason...

  4. #4


    I used to be ‘Jack’s-Jane’ but I have been logged out of that account and I can’t get back in !

    A Book written by a very brave RU member
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Growing-Gem...3LhYb9LJt5FjCM

  5. #5

    Default

    I have, thanks lovely, but it doesn't (nor does anywhere on Google) address the issue of the rabbit completely ignoring its previously used litter tray in favour, solely, of a new wholly unsuitable one :/ I am just at a loss as to why he has suddenly abandoned the one he liked and which has the right set-up; with food, in a corner, with his own scent but still cleaned so it isn't manky etc...

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LittleLi View Post
    I have, thanks lovely, but it doesn't (nor does anywhere on Google) address the issue of the rabbit completely ignoring its previously used litter tray in favour, solely, of a new wholly unsuitable one :/ I am just at a loss as to why he has suddenly abandoned the one he liked and which has the right set-up; with food, in a corner, with his own scent but still cleaned so it isn't manky etc...
    The whole issue of litter training will be easier when he is neutered . Unfortunately he will decide where is suitable to use as a litter tray. He will also be marking out what he deems to be his territory. In a few more weeks he may start spraying wee too, incase no one warned you about that.


    I used to be ‘Jack’s-Jane’ but I have been logged out of that account and I can’t get back in !

    A Book written by a very brave RU member
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Growing-Gem...3LhYb9LJt5FjCM

  7. #7

    Default

    Hehe it’s not my first rodeo but it is the first time I have encountered this particular issue! Our last rabbits weed and pooed in many awkward places incl the bed (neutering didn’t help the boy much, or shall I say us &#128584 but never entirely abandoned the litter tray in the cage despite being free roaming. I know all rabbits are unique but wondered if anyone could shed some light on this particular behaviour, as I haven’t read about it anywhere

  8. #8
    Wise Old Thumper
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    IOW
    Posts
    18,383

    Default

    Have you tried putting hay into his litter tray(s) as this usually encourages them to use it. Does he sleep in his cage? Maybe he wants to keep this space clean! Good luck!

  9. #9

    Default

    We've had this. We just shrugged and put a new toilet where he was going.

    Eventually it settled back down and we could slowly move the loo to where we wanted and he followed.

    Just meant we had two loos in the space for a while.

    We also went through a phase with Primrose where she only peed in a loo that was just 'so' and once it didnt meet the requirements she would revenge pee somewhere else.

    We soon learned to meet the just 'so' requirements lol

    Sent from my SM-A705FN using Tapatalk

  10. #10

    Default

    Oh and the soaking up the pee into newspaper or kitchen towel and moving it to the right loo also helped.

    Then a quick clean with vinegar/water.

    Sent from my SM-A705FN using Tapatalk

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