How To Train Your Cat To Use the Toilet (and two other cool tricks)

Tired of the smell and mess of litter boxes?  Try teaching your cat to use a human toilet!


Buy A Kitty Potty Training Kit


To do this trick, you’ll need to purchase a kitty potty training kit like the one shown below available through stores like Amazon.  Unfortunately toilet training doesn’t work for every cat.  Some cats like to bury their mess after they’ve made it and may not like the idea of dropping their business into a bowl that prevents them from digging.  Also heavier cats may overshoot the mark or not sit right in the potty training seat.  Still, about 70% of the people that try to teach their cat to use the toilet as a litter box succeed, so good luck!  Also, if you have tips beyond those that we discuss here, will you please share with the rest of our readers in the comments section below?


Move Your Cat’s Litter Box Into The Bathroom


Start by placing your existing cat’s litter box in the bathroom.  If the move is too far from where the box already exists, move it in stages.  If you are a multi-cat household, remember that cat’s can be territorial and that some cats will bully other cats that are using the litter box.


Now Put The Litter Box ON The Toilet


Once your cat is accustomed to the litter box’s location in the bathroom, put the lid of your toilet seat down and then place the litter box on top of the toilet.  You’ll want to leave it there until your cat grows accustomed to using it in this position.   You may need to put a towel underneath the litter box to prevent it from sliding off the toilet when your cat jumps into it.


Switch To The Potty Training Seat


Once your cat is regularly using the litter box positioned on the toilet, switch it out for the potty training seat.  Monitor your cat’s behavior. If he or she consistently uses the litter box that’s stretched across the top of the toilet, try removing the training box according to the manufacturer’s directions.


What To Watch For


Keep an eye on your cat while he or she is trying to use the potty training seat.  You may have to make some adjustments.  In the past, pet owners have had trouble with potty training seats bending beneath the weight of a cat or cat’s overshooting the seat.  To guard against both, have some wet wipes and a small brush and dustpan on hand.


With a bit of patience and luck, your cat will be using the toilet to both urinate and defecate within a month’s time.  What we haven’t figured out is how to get the cat to flush the toilet when finished, so if you figure that out, be sure to share!


Oh, one more thing. Older cats can suffer from arthritis just like people and dogs.  Jumping onto a toilet and/or straddling the toilet may be painful for an arthritic cat so as your cat ages, you may have to move the litter box back onto the floor where it’s easier to access.


Bonus Trick 1:  Come When Called.


Your cat probably already does a version of this because the trick is almost entirely motivated by food.  Like many animal tricks, this one is best taught with the use of a clicker (shown below), a device that makes a distinct sound that helps the pet make the connection between the exact behavior your want them to do and the reward.


With your cat in eye shot, take out a favorite cat food or treat and call out your cat’s name or a command like, ‘Come!’ When your cat moves towards you and the food, click the clicker, and give your cat the treat or the food.  Once your cat starts to come to you consistently, you can stop the use of the clicker.


Bonus Trick 2:  Shake Hands


With a favorite treat on hand as a reward (we have luck with these freeze dried meat treats (see below) that are low in calories and tasty), tap your cat’s paw, or press your finger on your cat’s paw until he or she moves it.  As soon as your cat draws his or her paw up and away from the pressure, click your clicker and give the reward.  Over time, click and reward the motion that best resembles holding a paw out for a handshake.


Additional Tips for Success


Cats don’t cotton to training the same way that dog’s do and are nowhere near as tolerant of the activity. For best results, don’t try to train your cat any more than 2 times a day and no more than 5 minutes for per session. Never hit your cat, yell at your cat, or in any other way make the experience unpleasant.


Have you succeeded at getting your cat to use the toilet?  Please tell us how you did it in the comments section below!

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