A ferret eats every three to four hours, and as any ferret owner knows, goes to the bathroom almost as often!
As with any animal, it is important to be able to provide a clean environment for the health of both you and your ferret. However, as many ferret owners know, ferrets are very stubborn animals, and are primarily reward driven, and it can seem like you are constantly cleaning up accidents. This means that potty training ferrets may not be as easy as potty training other animals, such as cats or rabbits, but it is definitely possible to successfully potty train your ferret friend.
This article will give some helpful tips on how to litter train a ferret and what supplies are needed when potty training ferrets.
What Is Needed To Litter Box Train A Ferret
Potty training ferrets is not an expensive endeavor, as there are two main things that you need to be successful.
Invest in a couple of square or triangular litter boxes that have on low side and are tall on the other sides. Most ferrets owners are familiar with their ferrets backing into a corner with their tail arched before a bowel movement or urination. Ferrets will want to be able to do this in a litter box as well, so make sure it is big enough for them to be able to stretch out.
The second item that is essential in order to be successful at potty training ferrets is quality litter. Do not use clumping clay cat litter, as ferrets have sensitive respiratory systems that are negatively impacted by the dust in traditional cat litters. Instead, use recycled paper litter such as Yesterday’s News or ferret specific brands. You may also find that training litter, such as Kayties Training Litter helps to cut down on odor and encourages litter box usage.
Tips on How To Litter Train A Ferret
1. Research Where You Are Buying/Rescuing Your Ferret From
Potty training your ferrets is no easy task, but will be made easier if your breeder, pet store, or rescue group who previously cared for your ferret was diligent in litter box training prior to you taking them home.
Of course, if you are attached to a specific ferret, lack of litter box training should not be what sways you against adopting or buying a certain animal. The more training your ferret has with litter boxes earlier in life, the more likely they will be to continue on with training in your home.
2. Use A Litter Box Both Inside and Outside of the Cage
It is important to have the same expectations of your ferret both inside and outside of their cage. If you allow your ferret to poop freely outside of the cage, but expect her to use the box in the cage, your ferret will likely be confused and not be successful at all.
In your ferret’s cage, do not place litter throughout the lowest part of the cage. Instead, confine litter to the litter box only, and place bedding throughout the rest of the cage. Your ferret is not going to want to use the bathroom on their bedding or where they eat and drink, so this will easily encourage litter box usage.
Outside of the cage, place litter boxes throughout the space the ferret is allowed to roam in. If there are certain places that your ferret is partial to going, make sure to place a litter box. When potty training ferrets, it is evident that some ferrets are more receptive than others to finding a litter box, so you may need to place more litter boxes throughout the space, particularly at the beginning, depending on your ferret’s personality.
3. Use Lots of Praise and Treats
When investigating how to litter box train a ferret, one of the most common tips will be the use of praise and treats. When you catch your ferret doing something right, it is important to be armed with your ferret’s favorite treat, such as dehydrated liver treats found at the pet store, or Ferrotone. Ferrets also do well when praised and having their neck scratched.
4. Get Your Ferret To The Litter Box Right When She Wakes Up
As with most animals, humans included, ferrets generally have to use the bathroom very quickly after waking up. Potty training ferrets is much easier when you place your ferret in the litter box as soon as she wakes up to encourage litter box usages, and ensure you move your ferret into the litter box if you see her backing up into a corner without a litter box, both inside and outside of the cage.
5. Be Flexible and Understanding
When thinking about how to litter train a ferret, it is important to understand your ferret’s personality. Potty training ferrets will not be as easy as teaching other animals to use a litter box, and ferrets rarely use the litter box one hundred percent of the time. It is important to only use positive reinforcement, and clean up accidents as soon as they happen to avoid them in the future.
Don’t simply clean up a mess with a paper towel and throw it in the garbage. Instead, scoop up the mess and put it in the litter box, which shows the ferret the correct place to use the bathroom. Make sure to clean the area of the accident thoroughly so the ferret does not continue to smell their feces and assume it is an acceptable place to go to the bathroom.
Additionally, yelling or using physical punishment when your ferret has an accident is not an effective method when potty training ferrets. This will only break down the trust that you and your ferret have established and cause your ferret stress, which in turn can lead to further setbacks when potty training ferrets.
Those who are wondering how to litter box train a ferret might be disheartened to find that ferrets are not born desiring to use a litter box. However, potty training ferrets is not an impossible feat, and ferrets can be taught to use the litter box. All it takes is the right equipment, some persistence, and some praise and ferrotone.