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Do you need to know how to train a kitten for litter box usage, but don’t know where to start? Not sure how long it will take?
In this step-by-step guide, we’ll teach you the best techniques and methods for training a kitten. We’ll also show you what mistakes to avoid that can prolong your training process.
In short, the best way to train your kitten for litter box usage is to:
- Get two or more litter boxes and place them in convienent locations
- Encourage your kitten to use the toilet with food treats
- Use attractive smells like catnip to further encourage litter box usage. Clean the litter box daily to make it easy to use
- Track your kittens usage and report to the vet if you have any problems
Whether you have one or five kittens, this guide is perfect for any situation.
My name is Derrick and I write for Simply Cat Care. Our goal is to help you with common cat problems with easy-to-read articles. This guide is designed to help you train your kitten to use the litter box.
I am not a vet and recommend you speak to your vet for more help before training your kitten.
Here’s what you’ll find in this article:
Let’s get started.
How To Train A Kitten For Litter Box: Step-By-Step Guide
Step 1: Get a Litter Box for your Kitten’s Use
The first step in training your kitten for a litter box – is the actual box.
What sort of litter box is best for kittens?
This depends on a few factors:
If you have more than one kitten, it’s best to get an extra-large litter box since they will be sharing the same space and need their own room for doing business (and because two kittens often mean twice as much mess).
Give each kitten a separate litter box as well as they will eventually want to use their own. If you only have one kitten, a normal size litter box is ok – but you still may want another litter box to help give them more options.
Try placing your litter boxes in separate corners of the house with no others nearby to help your kittens feel comfortable with having their own territory.
You may also want to put a lid on the litter box.
Although it’s not always necessary, some kittens prefer their privacy and like having somewhere they can go without disturbance.
The best type of litter boxes for any situation are ones that have high walls.
This prevents your kitten from kicking all over the place when trying to cover everything up afterward. Be mindful that your kitten should be able to climb in and out without trouble.
Another option is to use a mat to place to the litter box, or just put the litter box in an area that is easy to clean (e.g. laundry).
You can make a litter box at home with cardboard. Check out this helpful DIY litter box guide for more.
Step 2: Introducing Your Kitten to Their New Litter Boxes
By correctly introducing kittens will help make this process easier – but remember only do one at a time!
The last thing you want is more than one hurt animal because things didn’t go as planned.
Start by placing both new boxes side-by-side and placing your kitten next to the box.
Make sure the litter box is not too deep for them while still allowing them the ability to cover up any smells or feces with enough dirt.
This will give them an idea of what these boxes are for versus if there was just nothing inside at all which would be confusing for cats who don’t know what its purpose is yet!
If they start sniffing around or trying to dig, that’s a good sign! If not, try moving their food bowl next to the new boxes.
Why does moving a kittens food bowl next to the litter box help?
Using food helps kittens go to their litter box by associating litter with positive reinforcement.
If they are still not interested after that, you can try placing their old litter box next to the new ones.
Once they start to use the litter box, you can put the food bowl away from the litter box.
Step 3: The First Time Your Kitten Uses Their Litter Box
As soon as your kitten starts to use their new litter box, it’s time for a treat! While they are in the box and finishing up is best.
You can also try using catnip or another favorite smell of yours if you think that will help them feel more comfortable while they get used to their new surroundings.
With any luck, your little furball should be happy going into their own personal litter boxes every day without any problems at all!
Check out our frequently asked questions section below for help with common problems.
Step 4: Keeping Track of Their Usage
When your kitten starts using both boxes on a frequent basis and with no issues or accidents in-between then it’s time for step four.
Keeping track of your kitten’s litter box usage can help you see if there are any issues that need to addressing or even when your kitten is sick.
This is good information to share with a vet to help diagnose your kitten if problems occur.
Keep a simple diary charting every time your kitten successfully uses the litter box (tip – put it on the fridge to make things easy).
Step 5: Routine Check-ups
When it comes time for a routine check-up with the vet, keep in mind that they will ask about litter box usage and might want to examine their stool as well.
Always remember not to leave dirty cat litter boxes sitting around and try to have an extra one on hand just in case!
This way, you can avoid accidents at all costs.
If your pet has diarrhea – meaning loose stools or cow patty poop (eww) – then take them to the veterinarian immediately.
Diarrhea means something is wrong with either what they are eating or how their digestive system is working.
Aside from this, you should be good to go now. The litter box is in a good location and your kitty has been using it consistently, so you know they are happy.
Frequently Asked Questions: How To Train A Kitten For Litter Box Usage
At what age should you train kittens for the litter box?
Train a kitten for litter box usage around the age of four weeks old.
They won’t have much control over their bladders and bowels until they are about six months to a year in age, so it’s best to not place them into situations where you want them using these boxes if they’re too young!
How will I know if my kitten has an issue using the litter box?
Usually, there will be some type of sign such as going outside the box more often than usual or sniffing around where they should go potty instead of actually doing anything.
Remember to keep track of every time your kitten goes to the toilet and keep track of any changes.
Let your vet know if you continue to have problems training your kitten to use the littler box.
What does it mean if I still can’t get my kitten to use the litter box?
If your cat is having a hard time using the box then you may want to try taking them back to step two and see if they have any issues with that part of the process.
If they still don’t use either litter box, take them outside away from the boxes for five minutes before bringing them inside.
Set up a new designated potty area and try the process again.
How can I tell my kitten has used the correct spot?
You can usually figure out what areas are good or bad by how much smell there is in each area as well as how dirty everything looks.
Look around the house for patches or feces, making sure to check under beds and other hiding spots.
What type of litter should I buy for a kitten?
The most important thing is to get a brand of litter that clumps well.
Clumping clay litter is usually a good all-around choice, but pine also works. Be mindful that large pellet litters need a sifting box.
Check out this guide to the best sifting litter box for pellet litters.
This will make it easy for you to clean out the boxes so they are ready when your kitten needs them – otherwise, you may find yourself changing all of the litter multiple times per week!
The smellier and dirtier it looks usually means something isn’t right with where they’re going to the toilet. If this happens then try changing up their spot or even putting in more than one box (if possible).
If everything else seems fine but there’s just too much smell or not enough room inside the box then you should definitely add another one.
Two boxes are better than one because if your cat has gone once already and can still use either box no matter which one is full or not.
If you have a small apartment, you want to find a low tracking litter with good odor control. Check out my top picks for small apartments in this guide.
What sort of treats work best to train a kitten to use the litter box?
Soft wet treats are definitely the way to go. You can soften some freeze-dried foods or topper foods to give to your kitten as a tasty treat.
Be patient with your little fur baby as this might take a few weeks before they understand what you want them to do.
If it doesn’t work out then try getting rid of the old box by moving its location, but make sure there aren’t any other kittens around who will get into trouble if left unattended!
Training a kitten can be difficult at first because they have no idea where you expect them to use their litter box. They don’t even know what boxes are for yet let alone what their purpose is.
What are the best places to put the litter box?
The best spot to put a litter box is in a hidden, quiet corner of your house.
This may take some time for them to understand where you want them to use the box.
If it doesn’t work out then try moving its location and make sure there aren’t any other kittens around who will get into trouble if left unattended.
The best spot is in a hidden, quiet corner of your house that’s easy for a kitty to find.
Good choices include:
- Underneath your appliances like washer/dryer or oven since they’re usually located on an inside wall (kitty won’t be able to climb up onto these appliances though)
- Closets with doors open wide are also good options
- Laundry area (provided it’s not too far of a walk from the main living area)
Remember, you want to make things as simple and convenient as possible for a kitten.
What are some other things I can do to encourage my cat to use their litter box?
There are a few different ways you can help them get started with using the box in your home.
For training a kitten, it is important not to leave them alone for too long.
If left unattended then this could lead to accidents happening.
It’s best if someone can stay home with your new pet while you teach them about their litter box. If that isn’t possible at least make sure there aren’t any other cats nearby who might try and play or take over from where your kitten should be going.
If your kitten makes an accident on the floor of course it’s ok clean up after them.
Kittens will use anything they see like carpeted stairs or furniture as toilets until we train them otherwise!
They need time so don’t get upset when they struggle the first time.
When to call a vet?
Here are times you should call a vet:
- If you feel the situation is out of your control
- Your kitten has stopped eating or drinking water for over 24 hours and refuses to use their litter box
- They are showing signs of illness like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy or fever.
If your kitten or cat has allergies or asthma you may benefit from changing your litter. Check out my best cat litter options for cats with asthma.
What are some other things I can do while my kitten is learning?
It’s best to provide plenty of toys and scratchers as well as elevated perches so your kitten doesn’t get too bored or restless whilst learning.
If your kitten is bored, they might start thinking outside the box (no pun intended) before being able to hold attention to learn how to toilet.
How long will it take to train a kitten to use the litter box?
It should take about a week of training to successfully have the litter box become a habit for your kitty.
Do not put them in situations where they could make mistakes until it’s you establish what you want them to do!
Take your time and plan things out carefully.
Conclusion: How To Train A Kitten For Litter Box Usage
In this article, we’ve gone through a step-by-step guide for training a kitten for litter box usage.
This will help you avoid having a dirty home and make it easier to potty train your kitten.
We have also gone over some of the basic reasons why kittens may not be using their litter box, so if you see any signs just know what they could mean before rushing to find out yourself!
Here are some quick tips for training your kitten for the litter box:
- Make sure there’s an appropriate amount of litter in the pan; two inches is usually plenty but you can always add more for older cats or those who produce larger waste when going.
- Remove as much unneeded mess outside of the box by cleaning up after them with a gentle deodorant spray while still taking them back inside afterward so that they associate going into all other areas like this too (and don’t go instead on something else)
- Make sure there are two litter boxes in different areas of the home.
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