Have you noticed that your guinea pig smells bad? Or maybe your living room stinks because the guinea pig cage smells like ammonia? You can resolve this issue by following a cage cleaning routine. However, I would strongly recommend to litter train a guinea pig. It will make taking care of a guinea pig a less stressful chore.
Is it possible to litter train a guinea pig?
Yes, it is possible to litter train guinea pigs but it takes time. Unlike cats and dogs, small animals go to the toilet where they eat, sleep or stand. Most of the time, guinea pigs feel comfortable to go to the toilet where they eat.
To litter train a guinea pig you need time, effort and understanding of your pet’s behavior. How quick a guinea pig will learn depends on the character of your pet.
Can you use cat litter for guinea pigs?
No, you can’t use cat litter for guinea pigs. Please, avoid it at all costs because it is dangerous for guinea pigs. Pelleted cat litter is rough and can damage their feet. Moreover, a clay-based, dusty and fragranced cat litter can be toxic to small animals.
Also, it is not a good idea to use a cat litter which is clumping. Guinea pigs can eat the clumps and choke on them. Furthermore, the pee will get clumped up and end up with unpleasant odor. However, many owners opt for cat litters which are made of the recycled paper and are not hard to walk on.
Best litter for guinea pigs?
Whereas you opt for a litter tray or set up a potty corner, the best option is an organic paper based bedding. Stay away from the wood litters like sawdust and wood shaving as they can lead to respiratory problems.
Some owners recommend to lay a puppy pad underneath the toilet area to eliminate the smell. Also, it is a good idea to use old newspaper in the litter box. You can use a fleece and towels in the litter tray, but do make sure to change and wash them regularly.
To help with the litter training,on top of the bedding a litter box should be lined with the hay. Make sure that the toilet area is not different from the rest of the cage, so your pet feels comfortable.
A step-by-step guide to guinea pig potty training:
Step 1 – Choose a toilet area for a guinea pig;
Observe your guinea pig for a few days and figure out where it eliminates more often. When cleaning the cage you will see where the bedding is soiled and has the most of droppings.
Guinea pigs are prey animals. Their natural instinct is to find a dark area where they feel safe. Moreover, they try to stay in one location for as long as possible because they don’t like amendments to their environment.
Step 2 – Choose a guinea pig litter tray or a litter box;
Choose a litter box or a tray that a guinea pig can easily get in and climb out of. It should be spacious enough for your pet to not only fit the entire body but to move around too. Pay attention to the sides – these shouldn’t be too high. Guinea pig should be comfortable to enter the box.
The box should be made of the heavy material, so it doesn’t tip over. Alternatively, you can get a litter box which clips to the cage.
Step 3 – Organize a guinea pig toilet area;
Once you found where your guinea pig does its business, you can organize the toilet area. Go for a dark spot which is covered on all sides. To create a dark and quite place, you can just throw a blanket or towel over the litter box.
If you have a cage with a ramp to a second floor, then you can organize a toilet area in the space under the second floor next to the ramp.
Step 4 – Litter Train a Guinea Pig
Please bear in mind that there is no guarantee that your guinea pig will be litter trained. It is highly depended on the individual pet, but you can always give it a go.
- Organize the toilet area and place a litter box (read above) and let your pet in. Take a note if a guinea pig approaches the box. Some of the pets will understand that they need to eliminate into the box.
- Put the hay inside the litter tray or place a hay rack next to the toilet area. It will encourage a guinea pig to enter the box. Hay will keep your guinea pig coming back to the toilet area.
- Lure a guinea pig to the litter box and reward any successful attempt with a treat. Try it a few times and reward your guinea pig with a treat for staying in the box. It will create an association that it is good to pee and poop in the box.
- Make sure to clean the litter box every day. Otherwise a guinea pig won’t do its business in the dirty place.
- Try to put any droppings in the litter box, so your pet can see that it is a dedicated area.
- Some pet owners recommend to put food inside the litter box. However, it depends on your guinea pig. If it pees when eating, then it is a good idea. But, if your guinea pig doesn’t do that, then keep the food bowl and a water bowl separately from the litter area.
- You can also put a hideout house or an igloo inside the litter tray to add extra privacy. Make sure to deep clean the accessories weekly.
Is it too late to potty train guinea pigs?
You can still give it a go, potty training more depends on the character of the pet. Although, if you have a 4 year old guinea pig who is used to pee everywhere, then it will be harder to break this habit.