Not being able to teach your pet to do the needs in the litter box instead of the rest of the cage? Follow the Steps below to train him and make him use the restroom properly.
Part 1 of 4: Buying or Making a Sandbox
Step 1. Look for a plastic litter box at the pet shop
You can buy a litter box for your hamster at a pet store or online. Commercially available litter boxes are usually triangular to fit the corner of the hamster's cage, or rectangular to fit the side of the cage.
The litter box in some cases has a lid to contain the smell of animal waste. Some sandboxes are pot-shaped with high ends and do not come with a lid
Step 2. Use a glass bowl or plate
If you want to save money, you can also use a glass bowl or plate instead of a litter box. Glass is convenient as it is easy to wash and the hamster will not be able to chew it.
Look for a glass dish or bowl that is slightly larger than the hamster and has high sides. Depending on the size of the hamster, a half liter or 250 ml jar can do
Step 3. Use a tupperware
An alternative is to use a clean plastic tupperware that is slightly larger than the hamster. Use one that has a lid.
- Use scissors to cut a 2-inch to 3-inch hole on each side of the container, about 2 cm above the bottom level. This will prevent the droppings from slipping out of the litter box and falling into the cage.
- It might be a good idea to file the edges of the hole to dislodge possible sharp areas and prevent your hamster from scratching itself.
- Be aware that, although they are easier to make, plastic litter boxes can be chewed by the hamster and will need to be replaced more often than glass litter boxes.
Step 4. Make a cardboard litter box if you need a faster and cheaper alternative
Cardboard boxes and tissue boxes are great to use as a litter box. When used, they can be discarded and replaced immediately. The cardboard box will also absorb part of the urine, preventing the sand from getting soaked.
However, the hamster will likely start chewing the cardboard quickly, so you will need to replace the cardboard box much more often. Cardboard is a good temporary option, but it doesn't serve as a permanent solution
Part 2 of 4: Choosing the Type of Sand for the Box
Step 1. Use sand if you are looking for a convenient and inexpensive option
Sand is a good option, as the hamster will have fun digging and urinating in it. This option is also economical - chinchilla sand is usually sold in large bags at very affordable prices. Hamsters generally avoid eating sand and like to step on it when they need to.
Some hamsters like to roll around in the sand and may spread it all over the cage. Sand does not reduce the smell of urine, so you will need to change it frequently
Step 2. Buy toilet pellets at the pet shop
Hygienic granules are a commercial product made of non-toxic materials and are highly absorbent. It helps to contain the smell of the litter box and keeps the surface dry. Also, the material is easy to pick up with a shovel.
- Hygienic pellets can be more expensive, especially if you have more than one hamster in the cage. Also, your hamster can have health problems if it starts to eat the pellets, so this option is not ideal if your hamster is in the habit of eating and chewing items in the cage.
- Do not use cat litter in the litter box as it can cause breathing problems for the hamster.
Step 3. Use hygienic paper granules
This type of granules can be found in pet stores. You can also shred newspaper into small strips to use as hygienic granules. The paper is easy to clean and will absorb urine well (but not its smell).
Part 3 of 4: Teaching the hamster to use the litter box
Step 1. Wait for the hamster to choose the place where he likes to be cleaned
Instead of deciding on the hamster, let him show you where the litter box should be. The hamster will usually need to be in a specific corner of the cage. Pay attention to the location used by the rodent and place the sandbox in that location.
This step is important as the hamster may ignore the litter box if you place it in a random place in the cage. He'll end up messing where he prefers instead of the litter box
Step 2. Pour the material into the sandbox
Put enough sand to cover the bottom of the box. Then add some dirty bedding and droppings found in the cage. The droppings and dirty bedding will make the hamster understand that it can use the litter box.
Step 3. Place the hamster in the litter box
When the hasmter is awake and active, place it in the sandbox. The animal will sniff the box, trying to understand what is going on.
Let the animal explore the box freely, without forcing it to stay inside. After a while, the hamster will probably understand that the litter box is where he needs to go
Part 4 of 4: Continuing Training
Step 1. Keep the eating and sleeping area separate from the litter box
To ensure that the hamster only uses the litter box as a toilet and not for eating or sleeping, establish specific places in the cage for the animal to practice each of these activities.
- In some cases, the hamster will sleep in the litter box. This indicates that he doesn't like his current sleeping space. Make sure there is enough space in the cage for the animal to eat, sleep, and need to eat.
- You should also check that the hamster does not need to be needed in more than one place in the cage, which can happen if the cage is too large for the animal. If so, the ideal is to add another sandbox in the location where it also eliminates waste. This will help your pet get used to the idea of using a litter box.
Step 2. Don't be surprised if the hamster only uses the litter box to urinate
Some hamsters end up using the litter box just to urinate, continuing to defecate elsewhere in the cage. The upside is that hamster droppings are usually odorless and can be removed easily.
Step 3. Change the contents of the litter box once a day
Change the litter box liner every day so that it remains clean and attractive to your hamster. Discard the dirty sand once a day, wash the box, and add fresh sand to keep the place nice.