Toilet Training Rats

Rats are pretty clean animals, and are usually easy to toilet train.

If you are planning on toilet training rats you’ve already had for a while you’ve probably noticed they do the majority of  poo in one or two areas of their cage. Take note of the most popular poop spot.

Now you need to find a suitable litter tray. There are a few types commonly used. Some people like to use shallow plastic rectangular containers, like cat litter trays. These work well if you have a big cage with lots of room for them, or if you have a large group of rats. Other people use corner trays with grills on the top that the rats stand on. This stops the rats that feel that they have to rearrange everything from scooping litter out and getting it everywhere. We use corner trays without the grill because our ratties are mostly pretty tidy. Most pet shops should have a suitable tray (we get ours from animates), but you could also make one out of any shallow, easily cleanable container.

The next thing you will need is litter. This stops poo sticking to the bottom of your tray and makes everything considerably less smelly. We use recycled paper cat litter but you could also use aspen shavings or shredded paper. Be careful that the litter you choose will not harm your rats if they nibble on it – clays and crystals are not a good idea. Also make sure the litter is different from your bedding/whatever you put on the floor of your cage. If you’re using aspen as your bedding your rats will not differentiate between the ground and their toilet if there is aspen in their litter tray too.

A pee stone is an optional extra. This is a large-ish flat rock that you place in the litter try that most rats will choose to pee on instinctively. It’ll also make your tray less easy for boisterous rats to tip over.

Before you add the litter tray give your cage a thorough clean and add a few poos to your new ratty toilet. Then put the tray in the most popular poop spot. Some rats will figure out the new system straight away, but most will take a while before they’re using it 100% of the time. The key to getting them fully trained is consistency. You need to move any poo that’s in the wrong place to the litter tray at least once per day. It can help to increase your cleaning a bit too, so that the only area that smells like a toilet is the toilet.

Be patient, most of my rats took a few weeks to really get it. Toilet training is definitely worth it, it makes cage cleaning a lot easier and you can leave the cage much longer between cleanings as you can just change the litter and get rid of all the poo.