Potty training ferrets is one of the most challenging things to do with our fuzzy pets. Who doesn’t want a responsible ferret, right? We also hate to pick up their droppings on the floor and elsewhere. That is why training them to litter on the correct area is important, but the question is, how are we going to do that? How are we going to teach our ferrets? Below are some recommendations on how we can go about training our pets.
Choosing Appropriate Litter and Litter Pan
First of all, the litter pan to use when potty training ferrets must have adequate sizing, so this means the bigger the better. Ferrets like it better when they’re full body is fitted on the litter pan, otherwise they would poop elsewhere that is more comfortable for them.
As for choosing the correct type of litter, it is always important that you pick those that are dust-free and safe for your ferrets. They have the tendency to dive in the litter and tiny particles might get into their respiratory system and cause health problems. Also, pick those that don’t have strong odor because ferrets do have sensitive lungs.
Litters that are clumping when wet are not recommended. This could get stuck in their rectum and in their nose. Those with strong chemical such as pine and cedar shavings are also not ideal because it can cause irritation on your ferret’s eyes and the strong odor can cause respiratory problems.
Some experts would recommend using the following as litters:
• Recycled newspaper pellet (ex. Yesterday’s news litter)
• Denatured wood litters (harmful chemicals like phenol are removed)
• Hardwood pellet
• Alfalfa pellets
• Bentonite pearl litter
You may also use the shredded newspaper or paper towels as alternative if you can’t find any from the above-mentioned litter types. As much as possible avoid clumping clay litters, silica litters, cedar and pine shavings, wood chips, and some scented litters.
The Process for Potty Training Ferrets
Introduce the litter pan to your ferret and how they are supposed to use it. They may think of it as toys or something to nip at so the best thing to do is place it in the corner of their cage (ferrets most likely to poop in corners). You may want to provide several litter pans and not just one in every corner of the room where you ferrets are most roaming free. This would give them several options instead of dropping their poop on the floor. This is also an effective way to introduce the purpose of litter pan.
You may want to place some on their droppings on it. Also, when your ferret has the urge to poop they will most likely follow the scent of their feces and urine and will do their thing within the area where the smell is coming from. You also have to learn the time when they need to do it which is approximately 3 to 4 hours after they eat.
Tips to make potty training ferrets easier:
• Train them first inside their cage and as much as possible do not allow them to come out of their cage without pooping yet.
• Make sure that the pan is properly attached to the cage and that your ferret would have hard time removing it or play with it.
• If the cage has several layers, your ferret would explore it and would make some accidental droppings in it. As much as possible close the other layers while they are in the training process so they won’t have other options on the area they will poop.
• Ferrets will less likely poop in their bedding and feeding area that is why they must have a designated bathroom in the cage, preferably the bottom area, and do not place bedding or any matting in there. The bedding and feeding supplies must have separate spot in the cage so your pet could distinguish the sleeping and feeding area from its pooping area.
• Accidental droppings are very common so always be patient and do not quit from potty training ferrets. Clean the area where they made the accident and make sure to thoroughly get rid of the smell or any traces so that your ferret will not go back to the same spot and repeat the dropping.
• Watch out for the signs that your ferret will need to do it so you can be prepared in placing them on the litter box.
• Ferrets that are fond to dive and dig in their litterbox must be trained not to do it. You may try to divert their attention by providing them with toys and safe dig boxes.
• Experts recommend placing absorbent lining on the litter box to help absorb the urine better.
• Reward them with treats for showing good behavior and whenever they will poop in their litter box.
The following training methods would also apply when they are out of the cage. It could be a new environment for them when they are out of their cage but through patience and dedication to your pet ferret you can help them learn these things easily.