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How to litter train a kitten: our guide to cat toilet training

Let’s take a look at our preferred methods of litter training kittens, and the most effective ways to get your new cat using the toilet in no time!

Is their litterbox in the right place?

A litterbox should be away from noisy and well-populated areas of the house, but also somewhere your cat can access easily – one great example is the lobby, hallway or corridor right outside your living room. Keep the litter tray away from your cat’s food, water bowl and sleeping area.

Ensure you have the right number of litterboxes. If you have a multiple cats, you will need more than one litterbox.

Do you have the right litter?

Getting the right litter for you cat will help so much with their toilet training. This might take some experimentation but your kitten will be easier to toilet train if they feel comfortable when going to the toilet. Top tip: find out which type of litter the kitten’s mother had, the kitten is probably used to it and will find it comfortable. Don’t be tempted to use soil from the garden as it may carry diseases from other cats.

Do you have the right litterbox?

Is it too big, or too small? Is it dirty? Having a nice, clean litterbox that is the correct size will make it ten times easier to litter train your kitten. You might prefer to start with an adult size litterbox to avoid upset when changing it later down the line. Some cats also like privacy when using a litterbox and may prefer an enclosed tray.

The process: litter training kittens, how do I train my cat to use the toilet?

Start training as soon as you bring your new kitten home. Place them in their clean litterbox every so often, especially times where they’re most likely to need the toilet, or the ideal times you want them to be using it – first thing in the morning, last thing at night and after meal times. Your kitten will use the toilet more frequently to begin with. Signs of them needing go include scratching, sniffing and crouching down.

If your kitten goes to the toilet successfully in their litterbox, make sure they know this is good behaviour by rewarding them with treats and affection.

Avoid scolding or negative reinforcement

This is important because a. it’s cruel and b. you don’t want your kitten to associate going to the toilet or using their litterbox fearfully or with discomfort in any way – scolding and negative reinforcement will make toilet training your cat harder.

Instead, focus on positivity and accept that accidents do – and will – happen. With plenty of rewards and positive fuss over good behaviour, you’ll be surprised how quickly your kitten will adapt to using their litterbox.

Cat has stopped using their litterbox?

Your cat is no longer a kitten, is usually fine but has suddenly started peeing right outside their litterbox, on your bed or elsewhere in the house? There are a number of reasons for this. 

Read more: Cat peeing outside their litterbox: why your cat is peeing on the carpet and how to prevent it.

Need more advice?

If you have further concerns about teaching your cat to use the toilet, have a chat with your vet. They’ll be able to provide advice that is specific to your kitty and your situation.

Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page, or speak to a vet online using Online Vets.