It is possible to housetrain dwarf, and other, hamster although perhaps not as reliably as a cat, dog or rabbit. Toilet hygiene is in fact a natural behaviour for many small rodents, including hamsters. This is because in nature they live in burrows or other small spaces, not out in the open, and they need to keep their nests clean. It is worth housetraining your hamsters, primarily because this makes keeping the cage clean and odour-free much easier. You simply empty and replace the litter each day and clean the cage once a week.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Hamster litter tray
- Two types of bedding material
Observe your hamster for a few days to see where it prefers to urinate, usually one corner of the cage.
Clean out the cage, retaining a couple of tablespoonfuls of soiled bedding material.
Add about ½-inch of a different type of bedding to the hamster's normal bedding to the litter tray. For example, if you normally use a commercial substrate, fill the litter tray with finely shredded cardboard. The litter that comes with hamster toilets is also suitable. Put the soiled material on top.
Position the hamster litter tray in the preferred corner.
Let the litter tray get fairly dirty for a couple of days. Thereafter, replace the old litter with new, but retain some soiled material each time. After a few weeks, simply replace the litter.
Tips and warnings
- Hamsters may have accidents even when toilet trained, and they are less careful about defecating than urinating. Don't let your hamsters out on your best carpets or anything else you would prefer it didn't pee on.
- Placing your hamster directly in front of the litter tray when it wakes up each day might speed the potty training process up.
- You can make your own hamster toilet out of a plastic tub with a lid. Cut a ½-inch hole 2 inches from the bottom for dwarf hamsters or 3 inches for Syrian hamsters. Sand the edges before use. Alternatively, just throw away the lid and turn the tub on its side in the preferred corner. Another option is to purchase a small plastic hamster nestbox and use that.
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