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BINKYBUNNY FORUMS > HOUSE RABBIT Q & A > Help me with toilet training my bunny?
Last Post by BB at 8/24/2006 7:21 PM (5 Replies)
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User is Offline Thunder
11 posts Send Private Message
8/21/2006 5:52 PM

My gorgeous male rabbit Thunder is 12 weeks old we have had him 4 weeks but cant toilet train him.  Have printed stuff off your site but we seem to be doing everything right? Thunder loves my red shag pile rug in the lounge and poo's contentedly all over it, even though his kitty litter is only cms away from it help??

Also he likes my wicker couch, last night brought some spray from pet shop she 100% guaranteed but no luck he must like the flavour any ideas please?  He is a much loved rabbit but being a little user friendly at mo.

User is Offline BB
San Francisco Bay Area
Forum Leader
8980 posts Send Private Message
8/21/2006 7:16 PM
Welcome Thunder! 

A). Baby bunnies are much more difficult to train.It takes much longer for most youngins.  And now that your bunny is 12 weeks, his hormones will be surging soon, if not already.  This will make him more territorial and his need to mark will become even stronger.     Are you planning on getting him neutered?    If so, this will usually solve the problem  but it is still a good idea to follow the training steps.

So I have a few questions regarding your training steps so far:

1. You said "kitty" litter.  What kind of litter are you using exactly?
2. How much freedom does he have at the moment? 
3. Do you put anything besides litter in the box?
4.  Does he lay in his box? Use it for a bed?
5.  Does he use his box at all to poo and/or urinate in?

B)  Regarding destruction of the wicker couch.  I have a wicker chest  and they used to chew on it all the time. You can see my learning lessons in the "House Proofing" Section: 

1. Most bunnies love those deterrents from the petstores.  Usually they have a bitter taste that some bunnies actually like.  Out of my three rabbits, it only deters one of them.

2.  Try perfume (doesn't matter what kind) if you don't want to make it too strong for everyone else in the house, spray it on a paper towel and rub it on the surface. (You may want to make sure that it doesn't affect your furniture's color or ???, and just do a test area.)

3.  Another member here told us about Ivory Soap.    Though for her bunny it only worked for a couple of days, but I have heard that it works for longer for other bunnies.

Does your bunny have plenty of other chew toys?  you can use a phone book, paper towel rolls, boxes etc. (Though I know that for some bunnies, no matter what you give them, your stuff always tastes better.)

Keep us updated!

User is Offline Thunder
11 posts Send Private Message
8/22/2006 1:17 AM

The litter we have been using is a compressed sawdust pellet(does that sound right?) Yes he does urinate and poo in it when it suits him, in fact the first two weeks he was excellent but now he has decided the shagpile rug is better!!   We have just moved the rug.

We were told 2 put a treat into the litterbox that way it would entice him in and hed get the swing of it, it hasnt worked he jumps in and out of it sometimes lying in there chewing on sides of box but not for long.  We put him and the poo in there if he poos out of box, but he just jumps straight out of box.

During the day Thunder is in his cage outside but at night Thunder has LOADS of freedom, perhaps on reflection too much from 6pm till 10pm he is usually downstairs running round, getting cuddles and relaxing with family then 10pm to 7am he is upstairs with us where there is another  litter box and a sleeping box which he doesnt sleep in of late because he'd prefer sleeping under the wicker couch chewing holes in it.

As the bitter spray didnt work we have sprayed furniture with lavender oil liberally hoping this will be a deterant we were also suggested a salt block for him to chew on which we have put on the side of his box which he hasnt been interested in.

As for toys not a great deal just a few cardboard rolls and boxes which he doesnt seem that interested in.  Have we given him too much freedom too early as he does get pretty much free run of house, we do section off upstairs from downstairs as to which ever section we are in?

We have discussed neutering, Would u recommend neutering and at what age?

Thanks Trish (Thunders Mum)

User is Offline Anita Stark
Ontario, Canada
200 posts Send Private Message
8/22/2006 2:13 AM
Hi Thunder!

We have a male bun that we got when he was around 8 wks. He is now about 19 weeks and we'll be getting him neutered soon. I can tell you what has worked for us regarding the litter habits in one word: confinement. As for litter, we haven't tried the wood pellets, we use Yesterday's News which is made of compressed recycled newspaper.

Our little boy pooped all over the place at first even on the couch and in my lap. We created a play pen area in the living room and kept him confined to a space about 4ft by 3ft. He only came out for short play times and we'd put him back in after about 20 minutes. He usually went right to the litter box. After about 3 days he stopped pooping on me and the couch. We continued the confinement until only recently when my husband installed a door in the pen. Now we can leave the door open when we're around and he comes out to play. I'm pleased to say that he hasn't had one accident, he always runs back in to his litter box when he needs to go.

As for chewing, our bun is satisfied with cardboard now, but he also loves those compressed hay cubes. Lucky for us, he seems to be pretty smart too. At first in his freedom he would go under the tv stand and start sniffing around the cables. We chased him out while saying NO in a strong voice (just short of shouting). Now if he heads in that direction we just say NO and he turns around. While this works when we're watching him, I'm not sure I'd trust him not to have a snoop if nobody's around.

Good luck!
Sable's Mom

User is Offline Thunder
11 posts Send Private Message
8/23/2006 2:22 AM

Thank you both so much for your replies being first time parents to a dwarf lop we are green!!

We have decided from your tips we need to go back to basics and we have been giving Thunder too much freedom.  Anita we have enclosed Thunder in side and let him out for 20-30min intervals and he is not perturbed but he is now sleeping in his litter box??? Is this weird??

We have had success with the lavender oil on the wicker furniture last night he didnt go near it BUT for toilet training sake we are now going to keep him a little more confined at night till he is more toilet trained.  Will let you all know how we go any more tips come to mind please post them we would be pleased to hear from you.

Thanks again for your tips.

Thunders Mum


User is Offline BB
San Francisco Bay Area
Forum Leader
8980 posts Send Private Message
8/24/2006 7:21 PM

Thunder - Anistark gave you some great advice. I was going to post about limiting your bunny's time out too.

Edited to add a "TOY" section

Regarding the litter.  The compressed pine sawdust is fine.   It's really the only time pine is okay because the toxic oils are dried out.     Some bunnies may find the pine smell too strong and stay away.  Though that didn't happen with mine, when I did use pine woodstove pellets (same as the cat litter "felinepine' but so much cheaper when bought at a hardware store)

Let us know how long the lavender oil works.   If it seems to deter for more than a few days, I'll add that to my home-proofing tips (I'll add Tip from member:Thunder)

It is very normal for a bunny to hang out in his litterbox.  Some bunnies do it because they feel safer there since they have thoroughly marked it and claimed it as theirs.  Their poop has messages in it, and of course though we humans aren't going to "read it",  a bunny has basically said what their sex is, how old they are, how dominant they are, if they are ready for nooky, or they want to be left alone.   And so they "send"  out the message and feel they have done their part., and then they can relax more.

IF he ends up making it his bed, and pooing some place else, you may need to get another box.

Again, don't be discouraged if he doesn't get this all right away, he is reaching sexual maturity, and so don't be surprised if he gets even more wacky, he might even start to become territorial of his "space" and can growl and grunt as his hormones surge.

Neutering:  Usually when his testicles drop which is around 4 months.   He will become EXTREMELY friendly soon, and it will become obvious. He'll start circling you, and if you listen very carefully, you'll hear a low honk noise, and then your leg or arm may be assaulted by bunny love.   You can offer a stuff sock.

It would be a good idea to find a rabbit savvy vet?  Do  you have one?  IF not, I can offer some info on how to find one.    It is extremely important that the vet has rabbit experience, as the surgery requires some special expertise - not  the same as cat and dogs.

Toys -  The more his hormones surge, the more destructive he may become.  So here are some more ideas:

You can  turn an ordinary cardboard roll into something  a little more exciting.  Stuff it with hay, and bury a couple of raisins or some other treat inside.  Then punch/cut a few holes throughout the roll so he can get a better whiff of the treat inside, and it helps give him a chewing point to start with.

You can do the same thing with a small lunch paper bag.   I put a few of those around the house.

Soak Popsicle sticks in apple juice.  I usually weave the sticks in the bars their pen.

Oh, and phonebooks, big 'ol phonebooks. Many bunnies love to tear those up.  Check out the "video section" of this site. (In the Gallery)


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