Training Pets to Use the Litter Box
Sat, April 17, 2021

Training Pets to Use the Litter Box

Housetraining a pet includes teaching them to urinate in the proper places. This can be hard especially when it comes to cats because urinating outside the litter box is their way to mark their territories / Photo by: Africa Studio via Shutterstock

 

Housetraining a pet includes teaching them to urinate in the proper places. This can be hard especially when it comes to cats because urinating outside the litter box is their way to mark their territories. However, this is not the only reason why a cat will not use the litter box as there some underlying health conditions that can compel it to seek other places to relieve itself. It might also mean that the cat is simply not used to the environment it is currently living in. The same is true for dogs.

It may be frustrating at first, but always remember that as a pet owner you should have patience and understanding dealing with pups or kittens that are in need of housetraining. They will need you to guide them to make themselves comfortable using their designated potty area. Remember that housetraining pets is not only for the benefit of pets but also for the owners as it will prevent your house from being overwhelmed by the unwanted stench from urine and poop. Here is the basic when housetraining your pet.

 

Provide the Litter Box, of Course

To start your pet off the right path, they need to be familiarized with the litter box at the earliest possible instance. If you have just gotten your pet from a pet store or a shelter, make sure that a litter box is already waiting for it at home. Hills Pet Nutrition, a company that markets pet foods, mentioned that it is a good idea to have more litter boxes in the house if you have more than one kitten and these must be placed in areas that will offer some kind of privacy for them. A kitty that feels exposed in a litter box might not pee or poop there and instead find a more secluded place to do its thing.

For the kind of litter box that is ideal for your pet’s need, you actually have a lot of options, from inexpensive, non-clumping clay litter to expensive, eco-friendly models made from materials like pine pellets, recycled newspaper, and even wheat. Many cats are not picky about what type of litter available to them, but there are those on that won’t use the litter if they are not comfortable with its texture or smell. 

For puppies, owners must put their pets in the litter box every 5 minutes. Observe if they go and make sure to offer treats and toys until they get comfortable. Once you see them using their box, reward them with a treat or piece of dry food. You can also use toys and praise to help them associate the experience with positive memories. They will soon become used to the box even if you don’t offer them a treat.

To start your pet off the right path, they need to be familiarized with the litter box at the earliest possible instance / Photo by: KARNSTOCKS via Shutterstock

 

Clean Up Accidents Immediately

Pets are not perfect, especially the younger ones. They will make a mess once in a while but never punish them for that. You don’t want them to be threatened around you and be afraid of the idea of making mistakes around your house. Dogster, a bimonthly magazine and website for dog lovers, mentioned in an article that if you find poop or urine in another part of the house, make sure to use an enzymatic cleaner that is specially designed to clean up your pet’s mess. Don’t use normal cleaning products because they are created to give a nice smell for us humans and won’t do a good job of hiding the scent of poop or pee from your pet. The scent of previous elimination at a particular site is an olfactory cue for your pet to use the same spot the next time.

Urine is much harder to detect when it dries up. To find the spot, use a blacklight that you can get at any pet store. The wavelengths it emits cause phosphorus and proteins in the urine to glow so you can spot easier.

 If you catch your pet start to squat in an area of the house to do their thing, avoid scolding them. Instead, quickly rush them to their litter box and reward them for appropriate elimination. Of course, if they are already in mid-pee or mid-poop, corrections at this point can be ambiguous at best and counterproductive at worst. There’s nothing else to do but wait until they are finished.

Pets are not perfect, especially the younger ones. They will make a mess once in a while but never punish them for that. You don’t want them to be threatened around you and be afraid of the idea of making mistakes around your house / Photo by: Nick Starichenko via Shutterstock

 

Reduce Stress

In an article published by The Spruce Pets, a website that offers practical, real-life tips and training advice to help you care for your pet, it was mentioned that spreading the scent of urine helps in reducing a cat’s stress levels. Felines like routine and anything that disrupts their normal activities can put their tails in a twist. 

In the spring, when stray cats go into heat, the scent and sound can prompt indoor cats to become more stressed and increase their territorial marking. Also, stress can make any medical or behavioral problems worse. Pet owners must let their pets calmly eliminate on their own. Help them by providing plenty of opportunities to do it in the right place. 

Stress and anxiety can cause a cat to stop using the litter box, so consider whether there has been any major change in their environment. Talk to your veterinarian to identify if the pet has an underlying health condition. If they don’t have any medical problem, you might need to confine them in a small area with the box like a bathroom or laundry room until they start using it.