How To Litter Train A Kitten [Ultimate Guide]

little grey kitten

If you’ve ever been owned by a kitten before, you’ll understand that they can be challenging to train. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, though. Litter training is something that should be done from an early age; that's why it's important to know how to potty train kittens.

The advantage here is that using a litter box will seem natural to your kitty. They naturally want to bury their waste. The secret of how to litter train a kitten is simple – you need to be patient and give them the right encouragement.

The age that you start them off will depend on how old they are. Three weeks is a good age to start getting them used to the box. You can also learn how to litter train a cat using the steps outlined below. The earlier you can start, the easier it will be.

Once they get to a certain weight, you can get them one of the best rated automatic litter boxes so you will never have to use a cat pooper scooper again! Our researchers had the Litter Robot at the number one spot.

Whether you want to learn how to litter box train a kitten or how to potty train a cat, the key to success is creating the right environment. Let’s have a look at how to get started.


Picking The Perfect Litter Box

kitten being litter trained

The type of litter box most appropriate will depend on the age of the cat. Make sure that they have easy access and that they can get in and out easily. They should be able to find and access the box as easily as possible to prevent accidents from occurring.

You might consider creating a small ramp out of an old cardboard box for smaller kitties.


Picking The Perfect Litter And how much you should use

Kittens are very curious. And, much like humans, they tend to chew on everything. It’s part of the learning experience. For this reason, you should stick to a pellet-based litter that is entirely natural. You can check out out reviews of the best kitten litter available on the market today.

Steer clear of clumping litter, or artificially produced litter until the kitten is at least three months old and an old pro at using the box.

Actually, it’s better not to use scented litters, even with older cats. For starters, the chemicals in the scented products are not ideal. Secondly, the cats may dislike the smell of the fragrance and refuse to use the litter as a result. Check out the best scent-free cat litter brands on the market.

You’ll need to do some testing to see which litter depth works for your cat. It’s a good idea to have two boxes to help here. In box number one, pour the litter to a depth of one or two inches. In box number two, put in double that amount.

Now, monitor to see which box your cat prefers. Once you’ve established a winner, pour the litter to that depth in both boxes.

If you don’t want to have two boxes for one cat, that’s fine. Start with the smaller amount of litter and see how that goes. If you scoop it out every day, even two inches of litter will work well. You can also check out these Okocat litter reviews to see if cat litter made from wood is preferred by your feline.


Picking the right location for the litter box

ideal location for a litter box

We assume that cats would want the same privacy as we like when we’re using the bathroom, but this is not entirely true. While your cat won’t appreciate a spot that’s in the center of all the action in the home, he doesn’t need a private bathroom either.

It’s more important to make sure that the cat has several different exit points, which will appeal to the cautious nature of your cat. So, make sure that he has at least two sides of the box free so that he can get away if need be.

There are cabinets that you can put the box in, but those are more for the owner’s comfort than the cat. You need to be sure that the box is in a well-ventilated, clean, and cool area. Find a low-traffic corner in your home, and make sure there’s no clutter or dirt there.

Put something under the box to protect the floor in case of accidents. There are litter mats that will help to deal with litter that has been flung out of the box. Initially, a puppy pad could also be an excellent choice to deal with the mess.

The main thing with training is that you need to make it as easy as possible for your new fur baby to find his litter box. It’s a good idea to start with keeping the cat in a single room while they’re still potty training, which ensures that the litter box is easily reachable if your cat needs it.

As the kitty gets better at using the box, you can let them come out of the room. We’d advise having a few different boxes spread throughout the house so that there’s always something within easy reach.

An older cat has better bladder control than a kitten, so it can hold it until it gets to its box. Kittens are not as easily able to control themselves, so having a few options will reduce accidents.

If you have dogs, put the litter box out of their reach. They’re not exactly foodies, and the feces inside the litter will prove tempting for them. Aside from this raising health concerns for your dogs, your cat will not want to use the box if the dogs have been digging in it.


Using Positive Reinforcement

positive reinforcement with a kitten

When we were growing up, it was common for people potty training dogs and cats to rub their noses in their accidents. This is the perfect way to create a neurotic pet who is afraid of you. It will also increase the chances that the cat will have more accidents.

Kittens do not understand that they’re not allowed to poop in certain areas. And, like with human kids, punishing them for a mistake is counter-productive. All you’ll end up doing is making the whole litter box experience unpleasant for the cat.

You could then find that the kitten won't use the litter box at all and that’s not what we’re aiming for.

It’s better to reward the kitty when he gets things right. If he’s having accidents, be sure to clean up the mess as quickly as possible and disinfect the area, which will prevent the scent from sinking in. If it does, the cat could assume that this is the right place to go potty.

If you find that he keeps going outside his box in one particular place, try placing the litter box in that spot. If that’s not doing the trick, try switching the type of litter that you’re using. You could also try placing the kitty in the box at random intervals during the day.


The importance of keeping the litter box clean

stop the smell of the litter box

How do you like using a toilet that has feces or urine in it? You’d no doubt want to flush or find somewhere cleaner to use. Cats are fastidious creatures, and they can be fussy when it comes to their toilets. If the box is smelly or unpleasant, they won’t want to use it.

Here’s how to keep the box clean:

  • Scoop solids out the box every day. This will keep your cat happy and will also help to control smells.
  • You can line the bottom of the box with some baking soda before putting in the litter to help improve the smell.
  • You should empty the box once a week. Empty the box and clear out any litter stuck to the sides. Then wash using a mild detergent and warm water. Finish off the cleaning process by wiping the box down with a mixture of one part water and one part vinegar.
  • Dry the box out and then add the baking soda to the bottom.
  • If you’re not eager to use baking soda, green tea leaves are an alternative option to help keep the odor under control.

Providing more than one litter box

Cats are territorial, and they’re not always that great at sharing. That’s why it makes sense to have at least one box per feline family member, and then one spare over and above that. If you don’t do this, you can expect:

  • Cats looking for alternate spots to urinate or defecate. The extra boxes mean a little more work, but that’s still a lot easier than getting the smell of cat pee out of carpets.
  • The cats will fight for dominance, which could result in the stronger cat taking all the litter box privileges and leaving the other to fend for themselves.
  • Cats ambushing one another when they’re heading for the potty.

It’s best to keep the boxes spread out so that each cat has their own territory. If possible, they shouldn’t be able to see the other boxes from where they are.


Keeping It In The Same Location

Cats are creatures of habit. They like things to be in their proper place. If you have a young kitty, making sure that the box is in the same place all the time makes it easier for him. If you move it, he has to look for it first, or he may not be able to judge when he needs to go accurately. 

Do yourself a favor and choose a location. Then stick to it. It makes the most sense in the long term. If you find that the cat won’t use the box where it is, that’s different. In this case, moving it might make good sense.

Remembering to put them in the litter box consistently

kitten sitting in her litter box

We’ve compared kitties to human children a few times already. Treating them the same way is going to make your life simpler. A human child is not always the best judge of when they need the bathroom, which is especially true if they’ve just started potty training.

So, as a parent, you take your child to the toilet at various intervals during the day and encourage them to pee or poop. Do the same with your kitty. When he wakes up and when he’s finished eating, take him to the box.

You’ll have to gently show him what to do as well. If the litter is clean, show him that he can dig in it by running your fingers lightly through it. If they’ve already used it, gently hold his paw, and use it to help him cover up the evidence. He’ll pick it up pretty quickly from there.

Understanding that accidents happen

As much as we’d love to tell you that potty training your cat is easy, there are bound to be a few mishaps. Maybe the kitty doesn’t quite make it to the box and has an accident. If this happens, do not ever punish him.

Just clean it up and then show him the box again. Use a cleaner with enzymes to break down the smell. You don’t want the kitty to learn bad habits at this stage, so getting rid of as much of the odor as possible is essential.

Make sure that he can get into and out of the box easily, and that it is clean. Having the box in a quieter corner of the home means that he can do his business with as little stress as possible.

Watch to make sure that other cats in the household are not trying to bully the baby.

Monitor your kitten’s behavior around the box as far as possible. Have they explored it? Do they seem to be comfortable using it, or does it seem stressful for them? If they’ve had a bad experience associated with using the box, they’ll want another option, which could be provided by changing out the litter, changing the position of the box, or both.

final notes

Cats are clever, and using a litter box is something that appeals to their fastidious natures. It won’t take long for them to get the hang of things, as long as you are patient and make the process as stress-free as possible.

Make sure that the box is easily accessible and that it is kept clean. That’s all that your cat needs. Give them that, and before long you’ll have them completely house-trained.

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