Guinea pigs learn by repetition and positive reinforcement. Because guinea pigs love to eat, a food reward makes them easy to potty train. They can learn to use newspaper or a litter pan outside or inside their cages.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Put hay in an accessible litter box. The triangular corner litter boxes work with a small towel or a hide placed over them to make the guinea pig feel safe and encourage it to use the box.
Know your guinea pig's litter preference. Some guinea pigs prefer to go on paper towels or regular towels instead of newspaper or hay.
Keep in mind that guinea pigs tend to go to the bathroom where they eat and sleep. This is where you want to place the litter box or newspaper.
Observe your guinea pig to find out its favorite potty spot and put the newspaper or litter pan there.
Place a few of your guinea pig's droppings in the litter pan or on the newspaper to encourage it to go there.
Potty Training Inside the Cage
Limit the area size and length of free run time at first. Use a small kitty litter pan for floor time. Cut one of the sides down and sand it smooth for easy entry. Place a towel or newspaper underneath.
Add newspaper or hay. Put a couple of droppings in the pan for encouragement. Put a small stool or end table over the litter pan. Guinea pigs feel more secure when they can do their business under a shelter.
Let the guinea pig run around on the floor. Put it back in its litter box and wait for it to do its business. Take it out afterward, and reward it with praise or food.
Hold your guinea pig, and when your guinea pig eliminates on you, say "No, bad," followed by its name. Put it back in the litter box and leave it there for about five minutes.
Repeat this process several times or until your guinea pig is trained. Remember to use plenty of praise and food rewards.
Potty Training Outside the Cage
Tips and warnings
- You'll need a larger cage if you plan to use a corner litter pan or litter box to allow enough room for your guinea pig.
- Guinea pigs can't hold their waste products as long as some animals. Keep the free run area small or use more than one litter pan.
- Young guinea pigs are easier to train than older pigs that are in the habit of going wherever they want.
- Check your house for potential hazards, like electrical wires, if you're going to let your guinea pig run free for any length of time.
- Some guinea pigs can't be easily trained and take much longer to learn than others.
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