Can You Potty Train a Chinchilla?

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chinchilla potty

The short answer to that question is yes. You can train a chinchilla to use a litter box, but only for urination. Chinchillas defecate up to two hundred and fifty times a day and don’t have time to get to the box each time they poop. 

Chinchillas don’t have a scent. Their poop doesn’t either. Another reason you aren’t going to train your chinchilla to defecate in a box. There is no scent to lead them to the spot each time. 

So, how do you get your chinchilla to use a litter box? First, keep in mind that not all chinchillas will take to this training no matter how hard you try with them. Others are willing and happy to use their box. Young chinchillas will be easier to train than older chinchillas. Your baby chinchilla should be at least six weeks old before potty training. They need time to gain control of their bladder. Don’t start potty training your chinchilla the first day you get them. They need time to adjust to their new surroundings. 

Why Potty Train My Chinchilla?

The main reason to train your chinchilla is that it helps keep their cage clean. It helps keep the cost of bedding down. You won’t have to change it as often if your chinchilla uses a box. 

What is needed?

You’ll need a litter pan and litter for small animals, urine-soaked wood shavings or other material your chinchilla has used, and a scoop. You’ll use the soaked shavings to reinforce the use of the litter box. 

Steps 

  1. The first thing you want to do is place the litter pan. Put it in a corner or other area your chinchilla frequents for a bathroom, away from their food and water. Fill the litter pan with litter. Watch your chinchilla’s behavior to understand where and when they are going potty. 
  2. When you clean your chinchilla’s cage, instead of getting rid of the soaked wood shavings, you’ll save some of it and place it into the litter pan. The reason for this is that the urine smell will concentrate in the corner where you placed the box, which will attract your chinchilla to that area.
  3. Continue with your routine. Whatever you normally do with your chinchilla, keep doing that, playtime, mealtime, cleaning the cage, etc. When you clean the cage, make sure to keep a small number of soaked wood shavings if your chinchilla hasn’t started using the box regularly. You’ll also want to add cleaning the litter pan to your cleaning routine. Once it’s cleaned, add fresh litter if needed and soaked shavings. 
  4. Repeat cleaning the litter pan, adding soaked shavings each time you clean the cage. This last step could last days, weeks, even months. You’ll keep this up until your chinchilla uses its box consistently to urinate. 

These are the basic steps to take to train your chinchilla to use a litter pan. Remember, your chinchilla is an individual and has behaviors specific to only it. You’ll want to consider that when potty training your chinchilla.

Some Tips to Make Training Easier

  1. Start training your chinchilla when it’s as young as possible. When they start using a certain spot to pee, then you’ll have a good chance at box training them. 
  2. Observe your chinchilla’s behaviors. Watching them will give you insight into their habits, making training go much smoother. Does your chinchilla use one spot to urinate in, or does it pee all over? The chinchilla that chooses one spot or even two will be easier to train. You can place your chinchilla into the pan if you happen to notice them going or getting ready to go potty in a different spot. Doing so can reinforce the idea that the pan is to pee in. 
  3. Clean up any soaked bedding when you notice it between cage and pan cleaning. 
  4. As your chinchilla gets used to their new litter box, you can gradually cut back on wood shavings for bedding. You can use fleece pads in place of this if you need the floors of your cage covered. Fewer wood shavings mean smaller places to pee. 
  5. When you notice your chinchilla use the box, praise them and give them a treat.
  6. Have patience. 

There you have it, how to train your chinchilla to use a litter box. Chinchillas are smart little rodents and can train to use a pan to urinate. Remember, though, that they won’t be able to defecate in a box. That isn’t something that will work. Start your chinchilla as young as possible on the potty training route. Older chinchillas can learn this, but it will be harder, especially if they are used to peeing all over the cage. Those that use one spot or even two will have an easier time adjusting to using the pan. Do you have a story or tips on potty training your chinchilla? Let us know with a comment below.

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