Many people who prefer smaller pets often adopt a guinea pig. They’re small, they’re cute, and their dietary requirement isn’t very demanding. A common question for first-time owners is whether they can potty-train their guinea pig.
You know it’s possible with dogs and cats. But can guinea pigs learn to use the same “bathroom?” The short answer is yes, they can be potty-trained but it requires a considerable amount of effort on your end. In this article, we show you exactly how to teach your pet this nifty trick.
Guinea Pigs are Smart
If you’re concerned about a guinea pig’s ability to learn new skills, then you should know that they’re extremely smart. Along with that, they’re fast-paced learners.
Studies have proven over and over again that they can memorize things and adopt them quickly into their everyday activities. They can recognize their owners, just like cats and dogs. They also respond to their names and commands. Guinea pigs also respond to gestures and signals.
You can use this ability to make them learn how and where to poop. But it’s easier said than done.
Guinea pigs can semi-communicate with humans. This means that they tend to ignore half of the things that you have to say! They aren’t going to be attentive like a dog might be.
Furthermore, the lack of potty training pads specifically made for guinea pigs makes the task harder. But potty training a guinea pig is possible. In the next sections, you’ll learn all about this process.
Can Guinea Pigs be Potty Trained?
Potting training a guinea pig isn’t vastly different from training a dog. The processes are more similar than they’re different. So if you’ve successfully house-trained a dog before, then you’ll find it easier.
But let’s start with the difference. If you’ve trained a dog to “go” outdoors, then you’ve walked him outside your house and around the garden. But you cannot really do that with a guinea pig.
They’ll most likely stay inside a cage. So you need to make arrangements within the house, near their cage and that means you need a litter box.
The Litter Box
Once guinea pigs grasp what the litter box is for, they’ll use it every time that they need to go. The difficult part is getting them to visit the box in the beginning. This isn’t going to happen overnight. You need to be patient and never punish your pet for making a mess elsewhere.
But to make the task easier, you can choose a dark area for the litter box. Guinea pigs like to do most of their daily tasks in the dark. The reason behind this is evolutionary. They evolved to protect themselves from predators by moving under the cover of darkness.
You can use this instinct of the guinea pigs to make them excrete at a place you want them to. When designing the space for the litter box, it’s best to cover it from all sides, just like our bathrooms are covered from all sides.
This would darken the area, and the pigs will find the litter box more attractive. The darker the place, the better.
Talking of evolution for guinea pigs, they also use their urine as a sign for other guinea pigs that it’s a safe place for them.
Litter Box Bedding
There are many products available specifically for guinea pig litter boxes. Some are even designed to keep things smelling fresh and also to reduce moisture.
The location of the litter box is more tricky. Some owners advise that you place it near their sleeping quarters and perhaps that is what you should start with. If that doesn’t work, move it to another area of the pet’s enclosure and make sure it stays dark and clean.
Reward Your Pet for Using the Box
Another way to help them learn faster is to offer a healthy treat whenever you see them use the bathroom. In the beginning, you might even treat them for merely going inside. Soon enough, they’ll grasp that this area is a special place.
You can also motivate them by saying nice things. They respond to tones. So when they hear a positive tone in your voice, they might associate their bathroom litter box with praise.
A Quick Summary
Guinea pigs can learn to use a litter box. You just have to provide the litter box, treats, and practice a little patience. If you’ve just brought your guinea pig home from a pet shop, give them time to settle in and get to know you for a week or two before you start the potty training.
It’s your job to stay patient and cooperate with him until he starts to cooperate with you. With gentle encouragement and training, you’ll have your guinea pig using the litter box in no time.