Hamsters are cute when they’re clean. A dirty hamster cage smells quite disgusting and creates a dirty environment in a household. But if your hamster is trained to potty in a particular place, you will get rid of the mess of having a dirty environment around your hamster’s cage.
But can you potty train a hamster? Yes, you can. It’s not that hard. All you need are the right materials and some time to train your hamster. A good litter box and litter material not only create a clean environment for a hamster but also makes a cleaning breeze for you.
In this guide, we’ll talk about how to potty train a hamster and then learn about the common mistakes of the training process. We’ll also look at a few ways to maintain a hamster’s cage clean and comfortable for the animal.
Can You Potty Train A Hamster?- Equipment You Need
Potty training a hamster is actually a quick and simple method if you can follow the steps properly and have the right equipment. Before starting to potty train your hamster, you will need the following equipment.
- Commercially Available Boxes
- Plastic Container
- Paper or Cardboard Box
- Metal or Glass Box
We’ve talked about the types of boxes you can use as litter boxes. Now let’s see the types of litters you can find for hamsters.
- Paper Litter
- Synthetic Litter
How to Train Your Hamster To Potty? Step-By-Step Guide
Now you know about the materials required for potty training of your hamster. Let’s see how you can train your hamster to potty.
Step 1: Selecting A Litter Box
If you have a plastic container in your house that you want to use as the hamster’s potty box, you can do so. The ideal box should be spacious enough to let a hamster move comfortably when it’s inside. Also, the box should be a few inches higher than the hamster.
If you’re planning to use a plastic box as the litter box then cut a blunt opening that should allow the hamster to move in and out easily and it should be at least an inch or higher than the base of the box.
This will ensure the litter material from bedding doesn’t decrease much when the hamster is moving the litter.
You’ll also find plastic or glass litter boxes in your pet store, if that’s what you prefer. They come in many sizes but they usually are triangular. This is to ensure the litter box can be placed in a corner of a hamster’s cage. Some boxes will have a roof while some will have high corners.
Hamsters, like other small animals, feel safe inside an enclosed space. So chances are there that a potty box with a roof will be an instant liking to your pet hamster.
Step 2: Choosing The Right Litter.
You can make paper litter for free if you keep newspapers in your house. Just tear the newspaper pages into small pieces and there you have it. Also, paper pellets are available in pet shops. Pellets are made of paper but larger and designed to absorb more moisture. They can mask odor better too.
Using paper is a good idea since you can throw them away and they’ll biodegrade fast. They also smell good and dry quickly.
Sand is another cheap litter option for pets. Sand absorbs well and dries fast too. However, unlike paper, sand cannot mask the odor properly.
There are different synthetic litters available in the market. These cost more but can mask excretion odor very effectively. Also, these dry quickly.
While buying synthetic litter, check if it’s okay to use for hamsters. Don’t use the ones available for cats since they usually contain items bad for the hamster’s health.
Step 3: Setting Up The Litter Box.
Now, the first step is figuring out where your hamster’s toilet is. If your hamster’s cage is too large, it may have multiple potty spots. Once you find the place, it’s time to set the litter box up there.
Place whichever litter material you like on the bottom of the box. The bedding should be thick so even if the hamster takes some of the litter out, there should still be enough to cover the bottom.
Step 4: Attracting Your Hamster To Litter Box.
Use a piece of paper soaked with the hamster’s pee and put it in the new litter box. You can use some droppings or smelly litter that’s been used previously instead.
The hamster, smelling the odor, will understand that the box is meant to be its potty spot. If the hamster does not naturally check its litter box out, you might need to place it in the box for it to explore the area.
Within a day or two, the hamster will finally learn about the intended use of the litter box and keep using it. That’s about it. These animals are quick learners and they’re actually quite clean.
Advantages of Potty Training a Hamster
Let’s talk about two advantages of potty training a hamster.
Training a hamster to potty train means it’ll use its litter box as the toilet area and not other parts of its cage. Cleaning a litter box is simple: you take the bedding out by scooping, refill it and you’re done. Without a litter box, it’d be more work as you’ll have to regularly clean the whole cage.
However, using a litter box doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use the cage daily. Ticks, mites and other harmful parasites and insects can get in the cage. Cleaning is necessary to remove them and to get rid of the cage’s odor.
Separation between Bed and Toilet Area
It’s not uncommon to see hamsters considering their beds as the toilet area. This can happen if the cage is too small or too large. Setting up a litter box means the trained hamster knows the bed is for sleeping and the litter box is a place for toilet work.
Things to Remember for Hamster’s Potty Training
Because of some problems, your hamster might not use the new litter box at all. Let’s see a few problems like those.
Hamster Eating Litter
Your hamster may like litter and start eating it. Even if you buy non-toxic high-quality litter, they’re safe to smell only and not consumable. If you notice this behavior then change your litter brand. This problem usually goes away with changing the litter’s brand or the litter type completely.
Using the sand as litter would be the simple solution.
Cage Is Small
The cage should be ideally sized for a hamster. If it’s too large then the animal will consider its bed’s area for potty. On the other hand, if the cage is too small then the hamster will confuse its potty place as its bed. The solution for both of these problems is getting your hamster a right-sized cage/house.
Moreover, hamsters like to spend time indoors, especially inside their cages. Keeping them in a cage that restricts their natural playing behavior/movement is bad for their health. A spacious cage is necessary.If you’re a hamster owner, you may have concerns about your pet’s health and happiness. Our articles on hamster diarrhea and how to tell if your hamster is happy can help address these issues. The article on hamster diarrhea discusses the causes, symptoms, and treatments for this common health problem, while the article on how to tell if your hamster is happy provides tips and insights to ensure your hamster’s overall wellbeing.
Now let’s have a look at some of the most commonly asked questions.
How Long Do Hamsters Take to be potty trained?
Being quite clean in general and quick learners, hamsters don’t take much time to potty train. They can be trained within several days to potty in a specific spot.
Will A Hamster Use A Litter Box?
Yes. If properly trained, a hamster can be taught to use a litter box. In nature, they’re also seen using a specific spot for passing excrement. It is in their nature.
How do I Know Which Is The Right Potty Spot For My Hamster?
Before putting it in any litter box, see where your hamster naturally pees and poops. There could be more than one spot, in that case, you might want to use multiple litter boxes. Or place the litter box in one spot and put toys or other things to block the other spot. Slowly it’ll learn to use the given potty spot only.
The prerequisite of maintaining a clean hamster cage is training it to potty properly. A proper litter material and box will mask much of the bad odor coming from a hamster’s cage, making the environment in your house much cleaner.
We hope you’ve got some ideas on hamster potty training after going through this guide. Remember to change litter bedding regularly to keep the cage area smelling fresh, all the time.