How to Litter Train Your Pet Rat

How to litter train your pet rat

Pet rats do not generally smell but with their habit of urinating where they want to, it can lead to strong urine smells. 

 This means you have to clean the cage to get rid of all the smells but if you can litter train your pet rat, this will help to eliminate the chances of the entire cage smelling.  The question is, can you litter train your pet rat and how do you do it?

Is it Hard to Litter Train Your Pet Rat

Litter training your pet rat is not hard but it can be tough.  Some pet rats will adapt to using a litter box in a week while others may take longer/  All you need to have is a litter box with pellets…and of course, patience.  Soon they will learn where to go to the bathroom, making cleaning their cage a little easier.  When you get a litter box the size will depend on how big the cage is.  A standard litter box is 12 inches wide x 9 inches deep x 6 inches high although the height does not matter that much.  Use a litter that is odorless and absorbent.

Steps to Take to Litter Train Your Pet Rat

1. Set up The Litter Box

Make sure that the litter box you choose is designed for a pet rat.  There are some you can get that has a grid on it so your pet rat can walk in and out of the litter box without dirtying themselves.  Just make sure that they cannot get their paws stuck in the grid or trip on it.  Make sure that the litter you choose will absorb their urine to help avoid a smelly cage for a little longer than normal.  The litter needs to be safe for your pet rat just in case they try to munch on them.  Some pet rats will chew on everything.

litter rat

The material you are using for their bedding needs to be different than what you are using for their litter box.  This makes it easier to train them because they will learn that where they sleep is different from where they do their business.  Put the litter box where your pet rat generally goes to the bathroom.  If you are just getting a pet rat, put the litter box in one of the corners.  After you put your new pet rat in the cage, watch where they leave the droppings and move that cage to that spot.  Make sure that the litter box is in a place that is easy for them to reach.

2. Dirty it With Their Droppings

Wear gloves to pick up the droppings and leave them in the litter box.  The reason to do this is that your pet rat is not used to using the litter box.  This will help train them that this is where they need to do your business.  Once they find their dropping on the litter in the box, they will hopefully understand this is where they need to go to the bathroom.  It may take a few weeks but eventually, they will stop dirtying the cage and use the litter box.

3. Praise Your Pet Rat When They Use The Litter Box

When you see your pet rat using the litter box, praise them by giving them a small treat after they are done.  A pet rat will learn better if they get praised or a small treat for doing a good thing.  They will quickly learn that if they use the litter box they will be praised.

4. Keep The Rest of Their Cage Clean of Dropping

Start their litter box training after you have done a deep cleaning of their cage because, at that time, there are no droppings on the cage floor.  It helps to send the pet rat a message that they should try to use the litter box.  Every day check their cage and be sure that you clean up any droppings on the cage floor.

rat pet eating

Tips to Help With Litter Training

1. For Larger Cages, Use More Litter Boxes or Get a Larger Litter Box

If you have several pet rats, you should have several litter boxes.  If you have multiple tiered cages, put a litter box on each level because some pet rats are too lazy to go all the way down to used the litter box.  Sometimes a pet rat will not like the size of their litter box so you may need a bigger one, like ones for a guinea pig.

2. Put a Litter Box Outside Their Cage

Many who have pet rats and take them out of the cage will have a litter box they can use when they are outside the cage.  This helps with keeping the area where your pet rat is playing clean and odor-free.  If you like to leave the cage door open so they can come and go as they please, then a litter box outside of the cage can help so they do have to run back to the cage to go to the bathroom.


  • When trying to litter train your pet rat, have patience as some take longer to learn than others, and do not scold them if they are trying.
  • Some pet rats do not care about a litter box and just will not use it so you have to accept that.
  • Their litter box should be cleaned each day.  You can just take out the droppings or if it is really dirty and smelly, change the litter.
  • If their litter box is dirty, they will avoid using it and start going to other places in the cage.
  • It is easier to litter train a younger pet rat than an older one so you should start your litter box training when they are young.
  • For some pet rats, you may have to pick them up and put them in the litter box for them to get the general idea.  You may have to do this several times before they take the hint.
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