Can You Potty Train A Chinchilla? [Yes, But It’s Not Easy]


If you are considering purchasing a chinchilla or maybe you have already adopted a chinchilla you may have plenty of questions.

I know I sure did in the beginning.

One of the questions I had to arise early in the process was dealing with the steps involved to potty train a chinchilla.

Can you potty train a chinchilla?

I’ve owned a chinchilla for several years now and have successfully trained my chinchilla to urinate in a litter pan and here’s the insight I can share on this topic.

So, can you potty a train a chinchilla? Yes, you can potty train a chinchilla. Chinchillas can be potty trained to urinate in a litter box. Not all chinchillas will be receptive to potty training and it needs to begin at a young age. Chinchillas can’t be potty trained to defecate in a litter pan.

I know, it’s disappointing that we can only potty train a chinchilla for the pee but not the poop.

This is simply because a chinchilla poops way more than you may believe.

Up to 250 times per day!

Yep, chinchillas poop 250 times per day.

This makes it tough to potty a train a chinchilla to control bowel movements into a specialized litter box.

Can you really blame them?

The rest of this post is designed to break down what you need to know to effectively potty train your chinchilla and also provide insight on what items you will need to purchase to get the process started.

I’ve also created easy to navigate links directly below that will allow you to skip to any specific section of this post that you need or desire to learn more about.

Here’s what on the lesson plan for today’s brief post:

As stated previously, if you are in a hurry, feel free to use the links directly above to skip around.

However, if you have about 2 minutes to spare, feel free to learn all the ins and outs about chinchilla potty training directly below.

Items Needed to Potty Train A Chinchilla

The good news is that during the process of potty training a chinchilla, chinchillas are still very clean animals.

Chinchillas do not stink and neither does their poop.

The first thing you need to realize if you want to embark on potty training your chinchilla is that you will need a few items to get the process started.

You will need 1 Litter Pan to place inside of your chinchilla cage.

I use this small litter pan (Link to Amazon)

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 (Link to Amazon)

Lastly, you need the litter to place inside of the litter pan.

I use this specific critter litter (Link to Amazon)

You can also view my post on the better chinchilla litter options here.

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 detailing the process.

Here is what you need to know.


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- Ensure that your litter box filled with the litter or “critter litter” is placed away from all food and water for your chinchilla.

Ideally, you would like to put the litter box in an area of the cage where they already frequently urinate.

This in addition to starting the potty training at a very young age, will aid you in the process and make the potty training more successful.

This is easy to spot.

Find the 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 and that they have the potential to make fantastic pets.

Step 2- 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 place an odor emitting from the litter box.

As you do this over time, your chinchilla is going to begin realizing and recognizing 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).

Merely take the urine-soaked shavings and continue to place them in the litter box.

Again, be sure that this is remaining 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- In step 3, we unfortunately still must keep up with our ethical duties of being a chinchilla owner.

It’s time to clean the cage if it’s been a week.

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.

Simply continue with your life as usual and clean the chinchilla cage.

Perhaps get your chinchilla out for playtime and a dust bath.

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 for your chinchilla.

Step 4- Unfortunately, the same story is going to continue over the next few months.

Continue going about your regular chinchilla business and saving back shavings soaked in urine until your chinchilla is consistently only urinating in the litter box.

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 chinchilla recognizes this as something they are supposed to do, and it just won’t work.

I hate to break it to you.

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 and myself.

I do know, however, according to the rescue I adopted my chinchilla from know that it is 100% possible to train your chinchilla to urinate in the litter box, but it’s essential to begin as young as possible.

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.


A Few 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 achieve and successfully potty train your chinchilla.

Tip #1- As I stated before, the younger, the better.

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, and she was 9 months old at the time.

Litter Training Chinchillas Beginning At Young Ages

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 any animal and potty training, the younger the better because you aren’t necessarily trying to reverse the habits they have already formed.

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- Learn to observe your chinchilla’s behavior before beginning the process.

If you know precisely where she urinates within her cage and when she usually does it, 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.

It’s going to usually be better to wait until your chinchilla is frequently urinating in one area of the cage before attempting potty training.

When your chinchilla does begin urinating in the same spot which is the stage my chinchilla is currently in now, 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 urine-soaked shavings as we discussed before.

Place them in the litter box and begin 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 on the bedding you use for where your chinchilla urinates.

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 and your regular cage cleaning process will be far less.

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 don’t 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- Now we can begin replacing the bedding with pans to continue the potty-training process.

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, she will realize and 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).

Congratulations if you reach this point.

This means you have successfully created a friendly odor free, cuddling machine!

Tip #5- Always remember that this process 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 either delay the process, confuse your chinchilla or ultimately cause the potty training to fail in the long run.

Don’t Ignore Treats Throughout 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 an award to animals and are designed to be used to reward good behavior.

Well, just like a dog would recognize good behavior after receiving enough treats, your chinchilla can be the same way.

If you catch or observe your chinchilla urinating in the spot where you have set up the litter container, reward them 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.

Final Thoughts

Again, the biggest key I think from this entire post is beginning the potty-training process with your chinchilla from a very young age.

This is always going to produce the best results with your chinchilla.

Once of your chinchilla begins to recognize you, their environment and becomes more open to their surroundings, the process will get easier.

It may take time, but if you hang in there, you can 100% make it happen.

Share Your Thoughts Below

What’s your experience potty training your chinchilla?

Do you have any pointers that we haven’t listed yet in this post?

Be sure to leave a comment below, and I will be sure to update this to help everyone successfully potty train their chinchillas.


Josh Martin

My Name is Josh and this is my 4 year-old female chinchilla "Chili". We created Planet Chinchilla to share all the stories about owning a chinchilla that you need to know. I'm the Author of the eBook "The Ultimate Chinchilla Care Guide, From Adoption and On"

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