Many people who are into small animals consider adopting a guinea pig. They’re small, they’re cute, and their dietary requirement isn’t very demanding. The pet owners often like to ask whether or not they can potty train their guinea pig.
You know it’s possible in the case of dogs and cats. But can guinea pigs learn the same procedure for themselves? The short answer is, “Yes.” They can learn to potty train. But it’d require a considerable amount of effort from your end. In this article, you’ll learn how to potty train your guinea pig or cavy.
Guinea Pigs are Smart and Quick Learners
If you’re concerned about a guinea pig and his 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 into their everyday activities. They can recognize their owners, just like cats, dogs, and other animals do. They respond to their names and commands too.
Guinea pigs also respond to gestures and signals.
You can use this capability 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 they tend to ignore half of the things you have to say. They aren’t going to be attentive like a dog would who’d hear with their ears straightened.
Furthermore, the lack of potty training pads specifically made for guinea pigs makes the task harder.
But potty training a guinea pig is possible, nonetheless. In the subsequent sections, you’ll learn about the entire 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 excrete outdoors, then you’ve walked him outside your house into the bush. But you perhaps can’t do that to a guinea pig.
They’ll most likely stay inside of a cage and rarely need to go out. So you need to make arrangements within the house, near their cage. So you’d need a litter box.
In the subsequent sections, we guide you step-by-step through the rest of the process.
Find a Dark Area for Litter Box
The cavies will litter at the same spot every time. So once they become habituated with the place, they’ll do their thing at the same spot, making your things easier.
The difficult part is making them go to that spot to release their waste. This isn’t going to happen overnight. You need to be patient and uncomplaining. But to make your task easier, you can choose a dark area to put the litter box.
Guinea pigs like to do most of their daily tasks in the dark. The reason behind this is evolutionary. They’re evolved to protect themselves from the predator by moving into the darkness.
Since they can neither defend nor attack, they move into the darkness to eat, sleep, poo, pee, and do everything else. In the darkness, they become invisible to the predators. Their small size also helps the cause.
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 cavies will find it easier to move into that spot. 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.
Arrange Bedding In the Litter Box
You can use a bedding arrangement in his litter box to make the task easier. Since they are inherently designed to move into the dark spot, they will find it easier to move into space when they’re sleepy.
So by having both the toilet and the bed at the same place, you’re encouraging your guinea pig to move into the dark. This way, it will learn and adapt even faster.
Having the beds at the same place as the litter box helps you in another way. And that is in cleaning. You can simply remove the fleece that’s placed beneath their beds and toilet.
For containing the excreta, you can use newspapers.
But without the litter box and the dark area in place, the guinea pig will poop all over. So you’d have to clean the entire cage, which is tedious, to say the least.
Reward When the Guinea Pig Uses the Box
Another way to help them adapt to the new activity of pooping in the litter box is by rewarding them when they do so. The reward can be their favorite food. So if he likes to have nuts, you can hand him over a couple of nuts when they do their thing inside the litter box.
You can also motive them by saying nice things. They respond to tones. So when they hear a positive tone in your voice, they’d repeatedly do that.
To Sum up
Guinea pigs can certainly learn to use the litter box. You just have to make the environment for them to do their stuff. The training will take time, and that’s a fact.
If you’ve just got him from the pet shop, then expect more time since he hasn’t formed a relationship with you yet. Neither is familiar with the new surroundings. So it’ll take time to adjust.
It’s your job to stay patient and cooperate with him until he starts to cooperate with you.
The above steps will help you get started with training your cavy. With patience and training, you’d have your guinea pig littering in the litter box instead of all over the cage.