LITTER BOX TRAINING
Did you know rats can be taught to use a litter box? They are VERY smart and VERY clean, and providing a litter box is a great way to not only teach them something new, but make their cage much more cleaner and easier to deal with.
Litter Training 101
Litter box training is fun and easy to teach! Below will list some quick steps to get you and your rats started in the right direction!
Supplies you'll need:
A litter box. I use the corner litter boxes. [LINK]
Pelleted litter like pine pellets or paper pellets. [LINK]
Something with a smooth surface like a food bowl, or a river rock.
What you will want to do is place a litter box on each level of the cage while in the teaching phase. So every level/shelf/floor will need a corner box. I use corner boxes because like ferrets, rats like to back into a corner and go to the bathroom. The corner boxes are the perfect size for ratties!
Each litter box will need litter in it, and something like a pee rock.
What is a pee rock you ask? A pee rock is a smooth stone (like a river rock) that rats like to pee on. We don't know why they like to pee on smooth surfaces so much, but they do and it REALLY makes the difference in the litter training process. Without the pee rock (or whatever you use that is smooth in the litter boxes; I actually use an overturned food bowl) rats will not pee in the box like they should.
You can literally go outside and find a smooth rock and place it in their litter box! Just make sure to disinfect the rock and freeze it before use. DO NOT TRY TO BAKE THE ROCK. DO NOT BAKE THE ROCK. YOUR OVEN WILL EXPLODE. Do not do it. I can't say this enough. You've been warned.
So now you should have a corner litter box on each level of your cage. Shelves should have a box in a corner and if you have ladders in your cage leading to other levels, the ladders should lead into the litter boxes as shown in the photos I have for examples.
Now comes the teaching part. It's pretty simple to teach them to use the boxes. With the pee rocks in the boxes already your rats should be peeing most of the time in the litter box. Any stray poops should be picked up and placed into the litter box as needed throughout the day.
If you are starting with baby rats it will take them a bit of time to really get the hang of it. Like with puppies there will be accidents while they learn to hold their business and figure out where exactly it is okay to potty. Being consistent with picking up poops will be the biggest factor in teaching them!
As your rats figure out how to use the litter box, you'll be able to remove the extra boxes on the shelves and only need one to two boxes per cage (depending on how many rats you have and the size of your cage).
I can't really give a time frame on how long it will take your rats to learn to 100% use the box. It really depends on the rat. You may get babies who just figure it out or you may get a lazy adult who decides that they just do not want to use it.
But by following the steps above you have a pretty good chance on having litter trained rats!
Pet Rat Breeder in Denver Colorado