Part of taking care of a kitten is getting them ready to use the litter box on their own. But how exactly do you litter box train a kitten? The following tips will help you prepare your little one for regular litter box use.
At What Age Can You Litter Box Train a Kitten?
Kittens can be introduced to a litter box around 3 weeks of age. That is when they start to take control of their bowel and bladder functions and no longer need to be stimulated. However, each kitten hits developmental milestones at its own rate, so do not be frustrated if your kitten still needs stimulation past 3 weeks. They will start using the litter box when they no longer need stimulation regularly.
How to Litter Train a Kitten Without Mother
Whether or not a mother cat is in the picture, kittens do not necessarily need to be trained to use a litter box. They have a natural inclination to bury their urine and feces; they simply need to be introduced to the appropriate place to do so.
Choose the Right Litter
When introducing a kitten to the litter box for the first time, make sure to choose the right litter. The right litter is one that is kitten safe. Kittens tend to explore with their mouth, so the safest litter is one that will not cause problems if ingested. This rules out litters with fragrances and chemicals, or litter that clumps. A kitten should be 2 to 3 months old before being introduced to clumping litter in order to avoid accidental ingestion.
Find the Best Box
Kittens are just wee, so they are in need of a shallow box with an open top. If they are under 8 weeks of age, a simple, shallow cardboard box will even work.
Put the Box In the Right Place
Small kittens between the ages of 3 to 8 weeks should be confined to one room while learning to use the litter box. Older kittens should have multiple boxes placed within 10 feet of them so there is always a litter box wherever they choose to go.
The room for kittens ages 3 to 8 weeks should be kept clean of any clutter. Since kittens have the natural instinct to bury their feces and urine, it would be easy for them to confuse the right place (the litter box) for the wrong place (a messy pile of laundry).
Always Use Positive Reinforcement
If you catch your kitten using the box, praise them! Use verbal praise and treats. If they happen to have an accident outside the litter box, do not scold them. Instead, say nothing and get busy cleaning and disinfecting the area so no smell is left behind. Make sure to use a product that blocks odor in order to ward off any residual smells. If your kitten regularly has accidents in the same space, make to put a litter box down in that space.
Keep the Area Clean
Kittens do not like a dirty litter box. Keep it clean by scooping the litter at least once a day. This encourages the kitten to come back to the box and use it each time they have to go to the bathroom. Beware, though; kittens can be messy while they are learning, so it is beneficial to place a few puppy pee pads around each box for quick clean-up.
When it comes to how to train a kitten to use a litter box, kittens do not necessarily need to be trained; it is in their instinct to bury their waste. They simply need to be provided the correct tools to encourage them to succeed, and with the right litter, box, placement, cleaning regimen, and some positive reinforcement, your little friend is bound to have success.