Easy Methods To Potty Train Your Chinchilla

If you are curious about how to potty train your chinchilla, then you are in luck. Chinchillas are very clean animals and they prefer their cages to be as clean as possible.

They will choose when they want to use their litter box and, if trained correctly, they will use it every time they need to go potty.

However, before we give you actionable potty training tips, let’s answer the most common question:

Can you potty train a chinchilla?

Yes, you can potty train a chinchilla. However, start the potty training as early as possible.

If you have a chinchilla, then you have likely noticed that they’re spotless animals. They bathe themselves and prefer to live in a meticulously clean habitat. They also like to poop in their litter box.

This is handy because you can safely assume that when they leave their litter box and hop around, they are letting you know they need to be let out of the cage and their litter box needs to be emptied.

Why would you potty train your chinchilla?

When the cage is easy to clean and maintain, the chinchilla is more inclined to use the litter box. There are several benefits of potty training a chinchilla:

  • Proper training can improve the quality of life of your chinchilla.
  • Non-trained chinchillas can be very messy because they might not understand the concept of a litter box. This can cause a lot of stress for you as the owner, and your pet might develop some health issues down the road.
  • The cage is easier to clean and maintain.
  • It’s healthier for the chinchilla because it isn’t using its bedding as a toilet.
  • When a chinchilla roams free in the house, it can be very difficult to get them to come back inside for bedtime or naptime. Potty training makes it easier for both parties involved by keeping the chinchilla in one place.
  • It can also be beneficial for chinchillas who have medical conditions that make it difficult for them to get around, such as joint pain and arthritis. A potty training area allows these chinchillas to move around freely without having to worry about making too much noise or trouble getting back into their cage.
  • By potty training your chinchilla, you will play with him or her for longer periods of time because you will no longer have to clean up after them.

What you need to potty train a chinchilla

1. A litter box: Chinchillas will use the same corner of their cage for pooping that they use for peeing. So go all out when choosing a litter box for your chinchilla—it needs to be large enough that your chinchilla can move around inside of it and not get stuck or hurt itself when going in and out.

You can find special litter box inserts (cheap on Amazon) that allow you to line the inside of the litter box with newspaper, which makes it easier to scoop out any urine or feces after your chinchilla has done its business.

2. Chinchilla-safe litter: Normal clumping litter can contain chemicals and perfumes that are harmful to chinchillas. If a chinchilla eats litter, they may get an intestinal blockage and die.

3. Used bedding: When cage cleaning time comes around, take the time to look through your chinchillas cage for any droppings or urine stains on the bedding or cage bars. Remove these and replace with new bedding.

4. Treats: Chinchillas won’t immediately know what you expect of them, so it’s important to offer treats after every successful trip to the litter box.

5. A scoop: Chinchillas love their treats and will be more likely to go to the bathroom when there is a treat waiting for them at the other end of their “trip”. Scooping up droppings after a training session will keep your chinchilla from associating the smell of their own waste with positive reinforcement (treats).

Steps to follow to potty train a chinchilla

Potty training a chinchilla can be a long process, but you’ll find that it’s definitely worth it. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Put the needed items in the cage

You’ll need:

A box filled with bedding (we recommend shredded paper)

A litter box that’s big enough for the chinchilla to fit in comfortably a 1.5″ deep and measures 8″x8″ across from the back corner box)

Some toys that the chinchilla can play with (we like chew toys and tunnels)

Step 2: Use soaked bedding

Make sure your chinchilla’s bedding is damp (but not soaking wet). Then put it in their litter box and shut the door of the cage for about 5 minutes so that they can associate the smell of its urine with it on their own. Chinchillas will not use dirty litter boxes, so this should encourage them to use it correctly.

Potty training a chinchilla can be a long process, but you’ll find that it’s definitely worth it. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 3: Clean The Bedding

Chinchillas are likely to have the occasional accident when they are first being trained to use their litter box, so you’ll need to clean their bedding often. However, since chinchillas are also fastidious creatures, they can be easily discouraged if they do not keep the bedding clean. So here’s what you do:

Remove any soiled bedding and replace with fresh material. Chinchillas are fastidious and will avoid soiled material at all costs. If they cannot see the unsuitable material, they will continue to use the box. This could lead them back to having accidents outside of the box instead of in it.

Put down a couple layers of paper towels or newspapers at first until your chinchilla gets used to using the litter box consistently. Once your chinchilla has gotten used to using his or her box, you can gradually remove some of these layers until you’re down to just one layer and then finally none!

4: Keep At It

Once you’ve started the potty-training process, be sure to keep on it! Chinchillas are notoriously hard to train and can lose interest if they feel like they’re being forced into something they don’t want to do. Keep up with step 1 and 2 above until your chinchilla shows signs of wanting to take care of her own business with no prompting from you.

Tips to making the potty training successful

Potty training a chinchilla is not as easy as it sounds. But if you follow these 5 easy tips, your chinchilla will be using the litter box in no time.

1: Start at an early age

The younger you start, the more likely your chinchilla is to follow through with training. Chinchillas who are potty trained at a young age are more successful with the process than those who are older.

If you aren’t sure how to tell if your chinchilla is ready to potty train, look for signs of physical maturity—these include weight gain and the ability to shed their baby fur.

2: Choose a comfortable sized litter box

Consider whether your chinchilla has enough space to fill a litter pan. Some chinchillas are too small for the “average” size litter pans, and may need a smaller pan to make them feel more comfortable.

3: Don’t force it

When potty training a chinchilla, it’s important to understand the process for how they go about the act of relieving themselves. Different chinchillas have different needs when it comes to being taught how to use their litter pans. For example, some chinchillas are more sensitive than others and may need extra time before they get used to their litter pans. Be patient!

4: Keep distractions to a minimum

Keep distractions to a minimum while you’re potty training your chinchilla. Chinchillas can be easily distracted by their environment, so keep everything that might distract them out of reach or covered up.

5: Monitor the behavior during the potty training process

Make sure that whenever you are home, you are watching your chinchilla closely for any signs of them wanting to use their litter box. If your chinchilla chews or scratches at their litter box, this is a sign that they need to use it.

6: Gradually cut back the amount of bedding

As your chinchilla grows accustomed to their new litter box, start cutting back on the amount of bedding that you leave in their cage and replacing it with an equal amount of litter pan filler. This will give your chinchilla less room for accidents and will make the entire process more cozy for the chinchilla.

7: Praise your chinchilla good behavior

Make sure you praise your pet for every successful potty trip outside of his or her litter box. Positive reinforcement is an excellent tool for encouraging good behavior.

7: Remember it takes time

Chinchillas can be challenging to potty train. They’re way more sensitive to their surroundings than other pets, and so they feel the need to go potty more often. However, if you’re consistent about following the above key tips, your chinchilla will be litter box-trained in no time.

FAQs

Can my chinchilla potty train themselves?

Yes, a chinchilla can learn to potty train themselves. However, if you want to have the best possible outcome, we advise you to train them yourself.

Chinchillas are very intelligent and curious animals by nature. They love problem solving. They will be naturally inclined to figure out how to use their toilet. If you train them, they will place more value on doing it in the right place, as this is the behavior that you have rewarded them with.

A chinchilla’s training is easy and not time-consuming. It only takes a few minutes each day and a little patience. This will be easier for you than trying to train your chinchilla if you do it yourself.

Think about all the extra time that you will save by not cleaning up after your chinchilla in the wild area of your house! You can spend more time playing with your adorable, fluffy friend.

Why can’t you teach a chinchilla to poop in a specific spot?

You might wonder why you can’t teach a chinchilla to poop in one place. It’s just not possible, because chinchillas are pooping machines!

First, chinchillas eat constantly, and they’re always digesting food. So the food is never really out of their system; it’s all the time going through their system. And then when it comes out the other end, their digestive process is so fast that it’s not convenient for them to take the time to go find a corner and do their business. Chinchillas poop all day long, even during their sleep!

But also, what makes this even harder is that chinchillas’ poops have little to no smell. So there’s no trail that they can follow in order to establish a pattern of going to the bathroom in one designated area.

How often do chinchillas pee?

Chinchillas pee when they need to. This will obviously vary, depending on how much water they consume.

But sometimes it can seem like they are peeing a lot—especially if you’ve just brought them home, and they’re adjusting to their new surroundings. This is normal, but if you notice your chinchilla is peeing a lot more than usual, there may be something wrong with his diet and hydration needs, or with the time he has access to water.

Does chinchilla pee smell?

Yes, chinchilla pee definitely smells.

However, this smell is normal for chinchillas and does not mean your pet is sick. It also does not mean that your house is stinky, or that the smell will stick around forever.

You can minimize the smell by ensuring that you clean your chinchilla’s cage regularly and by using odor-absorbing materials in their cage.

Final thoughts

Potty training is a part of training of chinchilla. We hope this guide has been useful to you, and that now you can set about potty training your chinchilla with no trouble. Remember, the key to effectiveness is consistency, so be patient and persistent! After a while, your tiny friend will get used to using the litter box.

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Dr Harunur Rashid (Harun) is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine who has five years of experience in large pet animal medicine. He worked as a livestock officer for two years in an NGO, and since then he has been practicing pet animals medicine privately. He holds an MS in Pharmacology from Bangladesh Agricultural University and a DVM from the same institution.