Kittens are born with certain instincts, but it will always be in your best interest to help them out with litter training. Training them properly from the beginning will teach them the proper place to go to the bathroom, avoiding any accidents that could result from lack of training. So how do you train a kitten to use the litter box?
Note: As a general rule, it is important to know that even if you are planning on your kitten being an outdoor cat, you must first train them to use a litter box as they will need to be kept indoors for the first two to three weeks of life, or until they have had all of their vaccinations.
Choose the litter box and type of litter
The first step in preparing to litter train your new kitten is to choose the appropriate litter box and type of litter. The litter box should be relatively deep, not shallow. Some cats will choose to not use the litter box if they don’t feel a certain sense of security and privacy in the litter box.
When choosing the type of litter, it is best to use a fine-grain litter that does not clump. Kittens will sometimes eat the litter and the kind that clumps can be harmful if ingested. It is also not recommended to use shredded newspaper, as the wet ink can be harmful if absorbed into the kittens paws.
Choose the litter box placement
The placement of the litter box is just as important as the type of litter that goes into it. Start by choosing a place in your home that is relatively secluded, doesn’t get a lot of people traffic, and should be far away from the food and water, as well as the kittens bed.
Note: If you have more than one kitten, you should provide a litter box for each one and place them in different areas.
Start the training
Before you bring a new kitten home, the litter box should already be set up. When you do bring the kitten home, the first thing you should do is taking him to the litter box and place him in it. He may know exactly what to do and go to the bathroom, but if he doesn’t, gently move his front paws back and forth in a digging motion.
Whether he went to the bathroom in the litter box or not, bring him back to it in regular intervals, especially right after feeding time. If you notice him sniffing around, or trying to go to a more secluded place, it could indicate he has to go to the bathroom, so pick him up and put him inside of the litter box to show him where he should go.
Should your kitten have an accident elsewhere in your home, clean it up but place the feces into the litter box to allow the kitten to see where he should have gone. If the accident was urine, simply place the paper towel you used to clean it up in the litter box for about an hour so that patch of litter absorbs some of the scent.
It shouldn’t take long to train a kitten to use the litter box, so the whole training process should be relatively easy. Just remember to be patient and work with your little guy so he doesn’t become afraid of the litter box or you!