Every chinchilla owner will tell you the same thing.
Chinchillas create a lot of waste.
It is shocking how much they poop and pee.
Potty training could considerably reduce the amount of cleaning you need to do.
But you can’t potty train a rodent, can you?
Chinchillas are a lot smarter than most other rodents, so don’t dismiss the idea so quickly.
Keep reading to learn whether you can potty train a chinchilla, and how to go about doing it.
- 1 Can You Potty Train A Chinchilla?
- 2 Potty Training Your Chinchilla
- 2.1 Items Needed To Potty Train A Chinchilla
- 2.2 4 Steps To Potty Train A Chinchilla
- 2.3 Potty Training A Chinchilla Takes A Solid Effort
- 2.4 5 More Tips For Potty Training Your Chinchilla
- 2.4.1 Tip #1: Start At A Young Age
- 2.4.2 Tip #2: Monitor Your Chinchillas Behavior During The Potty Training Process
- 2.4.3 Tip #3: Gradually Begin Cutting Back The Amount of Bedding
- 2.4.4 Tip #4: Replace Bedding With Litter Pans Once Your Chinchilla Is Getting The Hang Of Things
- 2.4.5 Tip #5: Always Remember It Takes Time
- 2.5 Don’t Ignore Treats When Potty Training Your Chinchilla
- 3 Potty Training Chinchillas: Final Thoughts
Can You Potty Train A Chinchilla?
Yes, you can potty train a chinchilla. But you need to begin at a young age.
And you can only potty train a chinchilla to urinate in a litter pan. They can’t learn to poop there, so you will always have to clean up poop.
The rest of this post will break down everything you need to know to effectively potty train your chinchilla, including what items you need to buy to get the process started, like the correct litter boxes and more.
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Potty Training Your Chinchilla
As mentioned when we began this post, it is definitely possible to train chinchillas to use a litter box.
However, it is only possible to potty train a chinchilla to urinate in a specific area of the cage, such as a litter box or litter pan.
Due to how frequently a chinchilla will poop, it is not possible to train them in the same fashion to poop in one designated spot.
In order to successfully potty train a chinchilla, you need to follow certain steps and buy certain items. The items are necessary in order to make a strong effort at training your chinchilla to use a litter pan.
So let’s start there: with the items you need to potty train your chinchilla. After that, we’ll move on to the actual steps you need to follow in order to potty train your chinchilla correctly.
Items Needed To Potty Train A Chinchilla
The most important item you’ll need to potty train your chinchilla is the litter pan. I use this small litter pan:
It works perfectly and fits nicely inside of the cage.
I also highly recommend fleece liners eventually replacing the bedding inside of your cage. I use these fleece liners.
- Designed specifically for Critter Nation Cage
- Includes: Two large pan liners (one with a notch/cut-out for the ramp opening, Two small shelf liners and three ramp covers
- Available in various designs
The advantage of fleece liners is that you only need to buy them once and can reuse them. So no more constantly buying bedding. They are also much easier to clean.
Lastly, you need the litter to place inside of the litter pan. I wrote a post covering the best chinchilla litter options.
Now that we have those items out of the way, let’s dive into what you need to know about potty training your chinchilla.
My recommendations listed above will make much more sense after you understand the entire process.
4 Steps To Potty Train A Chinchilla
To recap, it’s nearly impossible to potty train a chinchilla to poop in a litter box. Part of this is strictly due to the poop having no odor or smell to use as an aid during the potty-training process.
I have a post specifically designed to discuss if a chinchilla smells or not that you can see here for further information.
Potty training a chinchilla to urinate is doable, but it does require a few steps to get the job done. Here’s a look at the process.
Step 1: Put The Necessary Items In The Cage
Ensure that your litter box is filled with the critter litter and place it in the cage, away from any food and water.
Ideally, you would like to put the litter box in an area of the cage where your chinchilla already frequently urinates. Doing so will aid you in the process and make the potty training more successful.
This favorite urination spot is easy to find. Simply locate spot of the aspen shavings or the cage pan that’s frequently soaked with urine.
For my chinchilla, this is always in the back corner right behind her hiding box. It’s the complete opposite corner of her food bowl and water bottle.
You see, they already know and are smart enough to use the potty away from where they eat, play, and interact. This just goes to show that chinchillas really are one of the smartest rodents.
Step 2: Using Soaked Bedding To Your Advantage
Now comes the fun part. Here’s where the potty training for your chinchilla really begins.
Now, instead of performing your regular chinchilla cage cleaning, you are going to separate the soaked bedding covered in urine and place these shavings in the litter box.
You see, this is going to ensure there is an odor of urine emitting from the litter box. As you do this over time, your chinchilla will begin to recognize this smell and associate it with her or his own urine.
Every subsequent time your chinchilla urinates in the cage (not in the litter box), continue to repeat this process: take the urine-soaked shavings and continue to place them in the litter box.
Again, be sure that it stays away from the chinchilla’s food and water. We don’t want them associating the bathroom or potty time with anything related to eating or drinking fluids.
Step 3: Clean The Bedding
In step 3, we unfortunately still must keep up with our ethical duties of being a chinchilla owner. That means you need to continue to clean the cage.
This does include the litter box. Even if your chinchilla has not caught onto your master plan yet, this is no time to give up.
Let them do their thing and while you are cleaning the cage. Be sure to save some of the urine-soaked aspen shavings. We are going to use them again.
However, you don’t have to keep all of them. Only save a small amount of the shavings and place them back into the fresh litter box for your chinchilla.
This is going to keep the odor running strong and continue the potty-training process.
Step 4: Keep At It
Unfortunately, the same story is going to continue over the next few months.
Continue going about your regular chinchilla business and saving shavings soaked in urine until your chinchilla is consistently only urinating in the litter box.
This may take some time so you have to just remain patient. Some chinchillas will be potty trained to urinate in a litter box much faster than other chinchillas.
It is all going to depend on how young your chinchilla is when you begin and how consistent and disciplined you remain during the potty training process. It is that simple.
Potty Training A Chinchilla Takes A Solid Effort
The amount of effort you put into this potty training will determine if you have a chance at making it happen. Potty training a chinchilla is not as easy as potty training a dog or even a cat.
Sometimes, after months of a tough effort and consistently adding the urinated shavings to the litter box, you may still fall short and fail.
Not all chinchillas recognize this as something they are supposed to do. I hate to break it to you, but in some cases, it just won’t work.
I’m currently going through the process myself so I will be sure to keep you updated on how this turns out for my chinchilla.
But according to the rescue I adopted my chinchilla from, it is 100% possible to train your chinchilla to urinate in the litter box. As long as you start when they are young.
The older your chinchilla is and the longer they have been urinating freely all over the cage bedding, the harder the potty-training process will ultimately be.
5 More Tips For Potty Training Your Chinchilla
The steps mentioned above were the pure basics, but I wanted to cover a few more tips in depth that could help you successfully potty train your chinchilla.
These tips will help you accelerate your results and get a better outcome during the potty training process with your chinchilla.
Tip #1: Start At A Young Age
Chinchillas can usually be adopted from the rescue, or even purchased in pet stores, between the ages of 9 months and 1 year old.
I happened to get my chinchilla from a breeder/rescue when she was 9 months old. However, if you happen to breed chinchillas or have chinchilla babies, you can make this process even more doable by beginning around the 6-month mark.
Like potty training any animal, the younger the better because you won’t have to reverse the habits they have already formed over a long period.
You’re merely trying to teach the correct habits from day 1. This is always much easier than replacing bad habits with good habits for your chinchilla.
Tip #2: Monitor Your Chinchillas Behavior During The Potty Training Process
If you know precisely where and when your chin usually urinates within the cage, you are going to have an inside advantage during the potty-training process.
If your chinchilla is always peeing everywhere, or not peeing in a given area of the cage, it’s going to be much more difficult to potty train your chinchilla successfully.
It is usually better to wait until your chinchilla is frequently urinating in one area of the cage before attempting potty training.
When it does begin urinating in the same spot, which is the stage my chinchilla is currently in now, that is the best time to start potty training.
The reason for this simple. Your chinchilla is already urinating in the same spot each time they go potty.
All you need to do in this situation is to replace this spot with the litter box and urine-soaked shavings as we discussed before.
Place the shavings in the litter box and start trying to get your chinchilla to urinate in the litter box, instead of down into the shavings or the bedding of the cage.
Tip #3: Gradually Begin Cutting Back The Amount of Bedding
As soon as you are only using bedding in the area where your chinchilla urinates, you can reduce a few things.
First, the amount of bedding you must purchase on a repeat basis. Second, the number of regular cage cleans, especially in the future once your chinchilla is entirely potty trained.
You also need to keep in mind that enough bedding needs to be in the cage or in the designated urinating area for your chinchilla to urinate with comfort.
Don’t use too little, but you won’t need to have bedding all over the cage any longer. Just enough to urinate and walk away.
That’s it. Nothing fancy about it and no math involved with how much bedding to use. Use your best judgment and keep your chinchilla comfortable.
Tip #4: Replace Bedding With Litter Pans Once Your Chinchilla Is Getting The Hang Of Things
Use the critter litter boxes to complete this process. Place the urine-soaked shavings into the critter litter box like we discussed at the beginning of this post.
As soon as your chinchilla starts putting two and two together, it will follow the urine scent and naturally learn that this is the place to urinate and to take care of business.
This is magical when it works, and you can begin only changing a small pan to remove the urine from the cage.
Not to mention that chinchillas literally have no odor and do not smell.
When you control and potty train your chinchilla to urinate in a designated spot, you have removed the only part of a chinchilla capable of producing any negative odor (unless your chinchilla is sick).
Tip #5: Always Remember It Takes Time
Don’t change locations within the cage for the litter box. Just keep repeating the process of placing the urine-soaked shavings in the litter container and stick with it until it works.
If you begin shifting around and changing things up on your chinchilla, it’s going to confuse your chinchilla and delay the process. It may even cause the potty training to fail in the long run.
Don’t Ignore Treats When Potty Training Your Chinchilla
I know we started by stating a chinchilla is not like a dog or cat, but in a way, they are. Chinchillas are brilliant animals.
Treats are always a good thing and represent a reward to animals. Use them to reward good behavior.
Just like a dog would recognize good behavior after receiving enough treats, your chinchilla can be the same way.
If you catch your chinchilla urinating in the spot where you have set up the litter container, reward it with a treat. Start teaching your chinchilla that this is the desired behavior.
Try and catch your chinchilla in the action of urinating in the box as often as possible, so you can offer up these rewards to him or her. Treats always go along way with any animal.
Potty Training Chinchillas: Final Thoughts
The biggest key is beginning the potty-training process with your chinchilla at a very young age. This is always going to produce the best results.
Once your chinchilla begins to recognize you and its environment, and it becomes more open to its surroundings, the process will get easier.
It may take time, but if you hang in there, you can 100% make it happen.
Chili and I wish you the best of luck with your new chinchillas and hope the potty training process goes smoothly for you.
What’s your experience potty training your chinchilla?
Do you have any pointers that we haven’t listed yet in this post?
Do you have any additional information you can share with the readers about potty training a chinchilla?
Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.
As always, Chili and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today and we will see you again next time.