Toilet Training A Ferret In Its Cage

How to: Toilet training a ferret in its cage.

Firstly, always make sure your litter box is appropriate for your ferret. Ferrets like to have big litter boxes, in which they can fit all 4 feet and one with a low front ledge ( makes it easier to get in and out of – fussy little things!). I have also noticed that they do not like getting their feet dirty and stepping in their or each other’s poo (who would? Totally understandable), therefore the bigger the litter box the more clean surface area to poop and stand in.

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Here are some suggestions on toilet training a ferret in its cage:

Clean The Smell Off The Non Poop Zones

    make sure you clean the smell of urine and faeces off the places where you do not want the ferrets to poop.

Place The Litter Box In Their Chosen Corner
    Let the ferret decide which corner it would like to designate as the potty area. This will make training easier for you in the long run. Saves you a lot of hassle with toilet training a ferret in its cage!

Attach The Litter Box To The Cage
    Securely fasten the litter box to the designated area so that they can’t tip it over and make a mess. Sometimes ferrets do this because they would rather annoy you and poop on the actual cage instead (underneath the litter box) and sometimes they do it because they are bored (perhaps it’s time to get some toys ?).
    Either way by them doing this you do not get your desired outcome (them pooping in their litter box). You can already buy litter boxes which attach to their cage or you can burn/drill a couple of holes into each side of the litter tray and use string to tie it to the cage.

Put Food Everywhere
    Ferrets are normally very hygienic animals and just like humans do not like eating where they potty. So if you spread their food in the places that you do not want them to poop then this should normally deter them from pooping in those areas.

    I also find that the success of toilet training a ferret in its cage using this method depends on the food you use. Make sure you use foods which they really love and value. For example some ferrets may like their kibble but love mince or mice a lot more.

    If you just put kibble (a lower valued food) in those places they may still poop in that area. However if you put mice, mince and kibble down they will realize that it's an area strictly for eating and not pooping.

    Make sure you clean those areas well beforehand, for hygiene reasons.

Get A Bigger Litter Box
    Make sure your litter box is big enough for the amount of ferrets you have. If you watch ferrets closely you will see that they do not like pooping over or touching anybody elses poop (therefore they look for cleaner places). They like to have their own little invest in a bigger litter box.

Clean Their Cage Everyday
    Keeping the above point in mind, make sure you clean the litter box once or twice a day (depending on how many ferrets you have and how dirty it gets). They are much more likely to use a cleaner litter box.

Get Another Litter Box
    Toilet training a ferret in its cage can be more difficult if you have a bigger cage in which they live.

    If you have a multi level cage and find them going to the toilet on different levels then it might be worth investing in another litter box and putting it one of the other levels.

    I find ferrets go through different stages, sometimes they are motivated enough to go to the very bottom of the cage to do their business. Other times they will choose to go on the level above (I call this their lazy stage).

Place Bedding And Blankets In Non Poop Zones
    I find this to be one of my favourite techniques. Ferrets tend to be very clean animals and do not like to do their business around areas where they sleep or eat. Therefore if you place their favourite bedding or blanket in the area which you do not want them to poop in then they normally stop or at least think twice before they make a mess there again.

    If it does not work the first time then experiment with different types and combinations of beddings and blankets.

Place The Ferret In The Litter Box Straight After Waking Up
    Ferrets tend to go potty in the first few minutes after waking up. If you catch them after they have just woken up then you will be able to grab them and place them in the litter box before they wiggle their back into another corner of their cage. This way they will be able to associate going to the toilet with their litter box.

Place A Ferret Into The Litter Box Nose First
    Put the ferret in the litter box nose first, assuming there are droppings and urine already in there. The ferret will have a good sniff around and will realise what the area is for. After that they should back up in to the corner and do their business.

    Sometimes even though ferrets do need to go to the toilet they get distracted by other things and will try to ‘hold on’ so that they can investigate the more interesting thing instead.

    If you find yourself placing your fuzzy nose first in the litter tray and them running out straight away, then just keep catching them and placing them back in and repeating the process until they finally get it!

Place A Poop Into The Litter Box
    Some ferrets tend to think that their litter box is for digging and burrowing in. The best way to prevent this behaviour is by placing a poop (or a couple) into the clean litter so that they know what it is for.

Segregate A Part Of The Cage OR Keep Them In A Smaller Cage Till They Get It
    By having a smaller living area for a while they will have less choices of where to poop. Also, as mentioned earlier ferrets are very clean animals by nature and will rarely defecate or unrinate in areas inwhich they eat and sleep. Therefore by using this method they will be forced to go in the designated spot.

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
    Always repeat the training methods so that the lessons become more engraved in the ferrets minds. The more times they are subjected to a training method the more likely they are to get it!

    Always reward your ferret for its good behaviour and for getting it right. You can either give them a treat (eg. a lick of Nutrigel) or make a fuss of them (you should always make a fuss of them anyway when they do something right) by saying something along the lines of ‘Good ferret!’ in a higher pitched voice, in a happy tone (so that they can recognise the difference between you being happy with them vs you being angry with them). This is not only good to remember for toilet training a ferret in its cage but also for all other training as well.

Toilet training a ferret in its cage does not have to be the hardest thing in the world. By using or combining any or all of these methods you should see results straight away.


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