How to Train a Cat to Use the Toilet (and should you ?)

Why train a cat to use the toilet?

Cat lovers, rejoice!  Imagine not having to scoop that stinky litter anymore, sounds great, right? Yes……..and no.  The number 1 reason for cat owners to replace the litter box is because of the smell and mess it can create.  However, though training your cat to use the toilet may seem like a great alternative to the litter box, training your cat or kitten to use the toilet has both its pros and cons which you can read more about below.   However, depending on your work ethic and patience, training your cat to use the potty can be quite useful (and entertaining!)

How to train a cat to use the toilet?

How to train a cat to use the toilet ? There are several different ways you can go about training your cat.
The most globally-recognized training kit is the Litter Kwitter. This is the perfect match for you if you need a system that basically (almost) does all the work for you.


If you are more of a crafty, do-it-yourself type of person, (like Paul and myself), then there are “organic” ways of creating the potty training system that you can discover under “our experience” further down the page.

how to train a cat to use the toilet timeHowever, even with a top-notch system, the key ingredients for successfully training your cat to use the toilet are patience and determination.  Ask yourself how useful would teaching your cat to use the toilet actually be?  There is a lot of effort on your part (the loving parent!) that goes into training your kitty to go where humans do.

So, before beginning, make sure you are prepared with committing to this project! If not, your cat may develop behavioral problems or may get stressed out and confused.

If you want to be able to say to your friends, guests, or family: “Yeah! My cat can use the toilet”, then here are simple steps to achieving just that:

  1. footprints how to train a cat to use the toiletIf your cat is older, this might be a harder task as they have already been habituated to use the litter box. Otherwise, a bold kitten of 10 weeks + is the perfect age to begin.  If you can, start the process while they’re young as they will learn and get used to it faster and easier!
  2. Move the litter box into the bathroom right next to the toilet. While you do this for a few days, put the toilet training trays next to the litter box. This will help your kitty get used to them so when you begin putting the trays on the toilet, it won’t stress them out.
  3. Put the beginner’s tray (that will have no hole) on the toilet. Cover moderately with flushable litter that’s safe for toilets and the environment.   Don’t forget to praise your kitty once they go on it!
  4. The second and third stages will moderately have a hole that increases in size. The goal is to reduce the tray size until your cat learns to go just with the toilet seat.  Also, decrease the amount of litter you use each time your kitty progresses to the next step in the toilet training process.
  5. There will be accidents, do not scold your kitty! If an accident happens or your kitty is hesitant or gets scared (if his/her foot drops in the toilet, for example) then back up one step and do not advance to the next level.  Give your kitty a few more days, comfort and praise him/her each time.  Build up their confidence and in no time your kitty will be going without litter or a tray!

PROS & CONS

As I mentioned earlier, training your cat to use the toilet may not be the best idea.  This is why if you want to get straight to the point, I have created a “Pros & Cons” list.

Pros:                                                                          

  • crazy catSave money!
  • Eco-friendly (no litter, no plastic boxes or bags)
  • Time saver in the long run (after training)
  • No more nauseating smells or messes
  • Brag about your awesome kitty 🙂

Cons:

  • Training is challenging
  • Cats can develop behavioral issues if not done properly
  • Stressful for some cats (young, aging, those with health issues)
  • Goes against cat’s natural instinct to dig, eliminate, and cover
  • If hospitalized or boarded, they will need to be reintroduced to a traditional litter box
  • The toilet seat needs to always be left open, if not your kitty will find elsewhere to go
  • As your cat ages it will prove more difficult to hop up and straddle the slippery toilet seat
  • Cats can become unnecessary stressed or confused, and going to the bathroom should not be stressful

 

~ As you can see, there are more cons than pros (in our humble opinion).  Though training your cat to use the toilet seems neat at first, the overall benefits of it are not so appealing.  If you care for your kitty, they will appreciate a clean right-sized litter box, so stick to what’s natural!

 

How to train a cat to use the toilet : OUR EXPERIENCE

Here’s a personal account of the toilet training system when we first welcomed Yoda into our home.  As young parents typically are, we were very excited to give the best for our kitty.  We wanted him to be “the cool cat”, and by that we meant teaching Yoda how to use the toilet.  The YouTube videos make it look so easy after all!  As crafty people, Paul and I did not buy the recommended training kit.  Instead, we put our creativity to work.

First, to recreate the trays used in the training system, we found old, sturdy pieces of cardboard that we shaped and cut to fit under the toilet seat.  We put a generous amount of used litter (so he could recognize his own smell) on the cardboard and introduced him to it.  He scratched around right away! We were thrilled and thought this project would be a complete success and in no time.  Wronngg.

As we began stage 2 and 3, fabricating the cardboard became more difficult.  Now we were cutting holes, using ductile tape so the litter wouldn’t fall in as much, and once Yoda peed on it would soak it up and we would need to replace bits and pieces.  We were actually doing pretty good, Yoda was successfully pooping and peeing in the hole, as planned, but then he had a few foot-slips and got scared.

Yes, it was quite hilarious, but we quickly realized he became very uncomfortable using the toilet system.  Not only was he scratching the walls after he was done (natural instinct to cover up), but then he began completely missing the toilet and finding more comfortable places to eliminate.

We stopped the training process soon after, as we were moving and would only have one toilet to work with in the future.  Since he was adopted, he was already used to the litter box, so he quickly re-adapted to using it afterwards.  However, ever since we tried training him on the toilet, he got used to scratching the walls around him as well as the toilet lid, etc.  He does the same thing today.  Each time he goes in his litter box, he scratches the box itself, and even the walls of the home-made furniture his box is in.  Now, for often what seems like 10-15 minutes, Yoda will scratch and scratch and scratch, trying to cover up his waste by scratching the plastic box rather than actually covering it with litter.  He eventually gets it though 😉

Thanks for reading!  We hope you enjoyed reading “how to train a cat to use the toilet”. If you enjoyed reading about our personal experience with Yoda, there are more #YodaStories to discover in our other articles!

 

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