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. Anything that you could imagine about chinchillas I was researching for answers. One of the questions I had arise early in the process was dealing with chinchilla poop and chinchilla urine. Can you potty train a chinchilla? After owning my chinchilla for quite some time and researching the topic, here is what I can tell you.
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 if you begin potty training at a very young age. Chinchillas can’t usually be potty trained to poop in a litter box. This is due to pooping more than 250 times per day.
250 times a 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 poop is being released just about every move they make. However, chinchillas urinating is an entirely different story.
I wanted to take the time to dive into the details in today’s post.
Chinchillas Can Be Potty Trained for Urination but Not Defecation
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.
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.
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.
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 much faster and more comfortable 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).
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 stated 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 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 Word. Potty Train Your Chinchilla Young and Stick with It Until It Works
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.
Don’t forget to check out my related questions section below in case I left something out and you still have some questions you need to be answered.
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.
What Can I Use for Chinchilla Litter?
You need to always use safe chinchilla bedding. Chinchilla safe bedding that can be used for a litter can include dried pine shavings, aspen or care fresh bedding. This works excellent for litter when potty training your chinchilla.
Do Chinchillas Need Bedding?
Yes, chinchillas need bedding. Some chinchilla owners have lined bottoms on their cages that are finished with soft coverings, but at the very least, your chinchilla needs bedding to urinate. Chinchillas must have some bedding at a minimum to absorb the urine they release throughout the day.
Can You Potty Train A Chinchilla for Pooping in Litter Boxes?
No. Chinchillas can’t be potty trained to poop in the litter box. Some chinchillas’ owners have reported trying these methods but chinchilla poop to often to control this behavior. Chinchilla poop doesn’t smell and is hard in substance so training a chinchilla to poop in a litter box is less of a concern compared to potty training a chinchilla to urinate within a litter container.
Do Chinchillas Pee?
Yes. Chinchilla’s pee. Chinchilla’s pee every day. Chinchillas consume fluids such as water daily which will store in the chinchilla’s bladder until it’s time for them to release a full bladder.
How Often Should I Change My Chinchillas Bedding?
Chinchilla’s bedding should be changed at a minimum once per week. Preferably chinchilla bedding would be changed twice a week, and regular upkeep and cleanings would take place in your chinchilla’s cage daily.