Tired Of All That Poop? Potty Train Your Guinea Pig With Our Easy 10-Step Guide

by Lindsay Pereira
How to potty train a guinea pig in 10 steps

Guinea pigs are sweet, adorable little balls of fluff that provide us with a ton of unconditional love… and an absurd amount of poop. It’s no surprise since they seem to be in either a constant state of nibbling or a perpetual state of gnawing.

If you’re a guinea parent like me, you’ve undoubtedly come to the same exhausted thought: there must be an easier way to keep a cage clean. The reality is, what goes in, must come out, but do these cuties need to poop EVERYWHERE? Well, fellow piggy lovers, that’s where litter training comes in handy.

The advantages of potty training your piggy pal

As you can imagine, litter training your piggy pal has significant advantages. Not only will your guinea maintain a cleaner cage and a healthier environment, but it also means less money spent on bedding, and most importantly, less cleaning in general. If you’re having trouble imagining such a glorious perk, you’ll want to learn how this is possible with the help of our step-by-step litter training guide.

Do keep in mind, however, that although litter training dramatically improves the overall state of a cage, it may not result in 100% accurate guinea pigs. Hey, even the best of us sometimes have problems getting to the potty in time. But don’t fret, the more you practice these techniques with your pet, the more they’ll improve their litter box habits.

Guinea pig, meet Mr. litter box

When it comes down to it, litter training has a lot more to do with creating a comfortable litter environment, while managing strategically placed bathroom zones, and a lot less to do with actual hands-on training. In essence, it’s more of a re-training, as you’re trying to encourage your piggy to change their usual habits. Regardless, litter training significantly reduces the often overwhelming, seemingly never-ending task of near-constant cage cleanings.

How to potty train your guinea pig? Here’s my easy 10-step guide

Litter / potty training your guinea pig in 10 steps

#1 Choosing an ideal litter box

Ideally, a litter box needs to be a comfortable size that allows your pet a bit of room to move. Most corner litter boxes at pet stores are too small, so guinea pigs simply won’t use them.

When choosing a box, pick one that’s big enough to accommodate your pet and made from a heavy material that won’t tip over. Many guinea pig owners have a positive experience with Ware Manufacturing litter box. Alternatively, if you’re short on cage space, you can use neatly folded newspaper as a litter zone.

#2 Selecting a litter box lining

To differentiate between regular cage space and the litter area, you’ll need to purchase material to line inside of the box. For example, if your cage has a fleece lining, you can place newspapers in the litter corners.

#3 Creating the best “restroom” environment

As with humans, guineas enjoy their quiet, private time. To make a litter box seem more appealing, place it in a corner where they’re less likely to be disturbed. Try draping a towel or extra fleece over that section for more privacy. In cages with ramps, the hidden section underneath the top floor makes for an excellent “restroom.”

#4 Teach them to jump to avoid messes

To avoid knocking over their litter boxes, teach your guinea how to jump. With a little incentive, like their favorite dried fruit, you’ll be surprised at how quickly they’ll learn this trick.

#5 When perfectly placed, hay helps create interest

Like a water cooler at the office, well-placed hay can create an appealing gathering spot, which just happens to be near the litter box. That hay will keep your guinea coming back to the litter zone, and train them to stay there for longer stretches of time.

#6 Poop mishap? Place it in the litter zone

As tasking as it sounds, try to keep all pet droppings in the litter box. In doing so, your guinea comes to understand that they should be using their box when the urge strikes.

#7 Move litter box(es) to favorite hotspots

All piggies have a favorite hangout spot. Simply move their litter, or add an extra box, next to their preferred location. Some guinea pig owners had a positive experience with placing the litter box next to the food bowl, but you can merely leave it close to their feeding area. The choice is up to you.

However, since most animals prefer to keep their eating and bathroom spots separate, and to avoid the risk of fecal contamination, you may want to simply add an extra litter near the feeding area, and not directly next to your pet’s food.

#8 Well-placed potty break? Treat time!

The minute your guinea enters their litter, reward them. Needless to say, if you catch them using the potty as an actual toilet, give them a very special treat. This reward system will help you instill positive litter habits.

#9 Nobody likes a stinky bathroom

Don’t give your guineas a reason to avoid the litter. Keep the boxes as clean as possible, ideally, changing them daily. For piggies that like to doze off in the restroom, add an extra layer of dry guinea pig bedding (we like paper bedding from Small Pet Select), so they’re not sitting in an overly messy potty.

#10 Umm… Why is there a tent in my favorite hiding spot?

As guinea parents, we all know how much they love to tunnel and hide. These hiding areas are safe spots, and they go to these protected places to feel calm and relaxed. For litter training purposes, you can add a litter box to these sites, draping a towel to make a darkened, tent-like hiding spot. This structure gives them a chance to feel safe in their litter. However, you’ll need to keep that litter tent extra clean, so your piggy isn’t meditating in soiled bedding.

A little litter training advice

When potty training my guinea pig, I placed multiple boxes throughout her cage. Granted, my little Muffy has quite a palatial C&C habitat, which made it easy for me to use several boxes simultaneously. In the beginning, I found this method really helped keep the mess to a minimum, and it also got her used to the concept of “going in the box,” though she only used them when they were clean and dry.

Lastly, you’ll have to keep those tasty treats well-stocked, because, without Muffy’s favorite dehydrated banana chips, I’m certain it would have taken her a much longer time to potty train.

I hope this guide was helpful to you and that it showed you how to potty train your guinea pigs in a simple way. Let me know how it went!

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8 comments

Gracie Cakora March 2, 2019 - 2:10 pm

I love this article! Definitely by someone who loves their piggy(s).

Reply
Monika March 4, 2019 - 5:51 pm

Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

Reply
Leanne May 7, 2019 - 10:10 pm

This is fantastic advice. I trained my buns and the dirtiest board in the world this way. The idea about covering the area where you want them to potty 100% works too. All 5 of my pigs like to potty undercover. Thankyou

Reply
Monika May 8, 2019 - 6:47 am

I’m glad you like our post! Thank you for your nice comment 🙂

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pigy lover August 12, 2019 - 6:01 pm

amazing advise thank you!

Reply
Liz November 6, 2019 - 2:36 am

Dark and safe environment also means their sleeping area ( a house with comfy fleece as bedding). How do you train them not to poop in their “house”? Thanks!

Reply
Monika November 9, 2019 - 10:28 am

Try placing their droppings in the litter box, when they do their business in their sleeping area. After a while, they might understand that their litter box is the best place to potty. Or if they really like to do their business in their “house”, you can put the litter box in that area and move their “house” in a different area.

Reply
Valerie November 10, 2019 - 4:43 am

I don’t think you can stop them from going in their house. That’s where they spend most of their time (besides eating) and poop is gonna happen. You could put potty pads under houses (or extra scraps of fleece) but the poop will happen. At least that’s easy enough to vacuum.

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