Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Pet Potty Training!

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Myster E demonstrates how to advance from the "old fashioned" litter box to the "modern" toilet for his slow poke brother Nymbus.


I have a dream of eliminating cat boxes: I dream that our four cats are potty-trained and I have donated the unused litter and no-longer-needed litter boxes, along with the extra cash that I would have spent on cat litter  to the animal shelter.

Following are "purr-sonal" T.T.T. (Toilet Training Tips) we scooped up while potty training our cats with the Litter Kwitter kit.


Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"

Myster E. demonstrates the technique he learned after watching Litter Kwitter's training video.

A multiple pet guardian can't enter a bathroom without a furry little herd following them watching them take their "turn." Now you can turn the tables on cats while they take their "turn".  We have a new motto in our house: "The family that pees together, stays together!"

- Our cats religiously use their litter box before breakfast so I made sure to "be prepared" for the "potty parade".

- First, set the trap: Fill a litter box with " of litter, only, so that when your cat steps into it, you can more easily "hear" it doing so. Quickly grab your "ready to go" cat, and make a mad dash for the toilet.
- We were not brave enough to just set up the Litter Kwitter system on our toilet and let the cats "figure it out on their own", as we were concerned that in their initial "confusion" they might become "creative" around the house. So, I kept the shallow litter pan in my office during the day, and in the TV room at night for more potty-training opportunities.

- To keep your cats centered on the task at paw (hand), close the bathroom door to eliminate distractions.

- A flushing toilet is not a distraction. Cats are mesmerized by the "action" and it seems, by each other. We are using/experimenting with the "monkey see, monkey do" method of training. After one cat is properly positioned on the toilet, I lift up another cat to "observation height" to better overcome it's short attention span and imprint the scene into it's brain, "aiming" for the end result of "Hey! Everyone is using the toilet but me! My turn!"

- We do not reward the cats with treats after a "successful splash down" due to the ongoing threat of contaminated pet treats; rather, we verbally praise them.

- Our cats disliked burying their "treasures" when using the litter box, so they would scratch the top of the plastic box. The noise sounded like claws-on-a-blackboard. They now appreciate not having to touch the litter; no more "potty paws". They are getting used to "just doing their thing", then hopping off the toilet. No mess. No fuss. No smell. One flush! Yahoo!

- Cats' eyes may water from the ensuing dust after "digging to China" in their litter boxes. Could this same dust be working it's bad "magic" in their lungs or yours? Another plus for potty training!

- On the first morning, there I sat, on the edge of the hard bathtub, locked in a small bathroom, with three of our four cats (being only half-awake, I was unable to grab #4). We accomplished nothing save for excessive pawing at the door to get out. I knew I was fighting a losing battle so I relented. As I opened the door to "free" them, there stood #4 cat pawing at the door from the outside to get in. The other three "headed for the hills". (I will probably laugh about this in a year....or two!)

- Running water creates the same "urgency" in a cat's bladder as a human's! When I'm running out of patience with a "pokey on the potty" kitty, I turn the bathtub faucet on, let the water run slowly, and it happily speeds up the process!

- Use a small stool to assist cats' ascension to the "throne". If they jump off the toilet before "doing their duty", I spend as much time as is necessary to "retrieve, replace and relieve". Be patient, as this is definitely a re"PET"ative process. Once, Myster E became so frustrated that he sat on the stool and placed his paws on the toilet seat; it looked as if he was praying. (I wish I had a photo of me praying with him to "Please pee" to share with you).

- During another frustrating session, I had to repeatedly replace Nymbus onto the toilet. Thankfully, he finally jumped up to take "the position". Then, like a child ordered to "go potty" before leaving the house, Nymbus showed me that his bladder was empty, and that he did not have to "go". He looked directly into my eyes to make sure I fully understood the situation. We then left the bathroom together.

- Be prepared to acquire the patience of Job before attempting this "job", as the training process does not happen "overnight". Thankfully, we have a phone in our bathroom both for receiving calls during "purr-formances" and for calling friends and family with updated "progress reports".

- Tip: Keep - inch of water in the bathtub to prevent "accidental deposits" into it.

- Our cats respond/react to several words: "Cat", when a stray cat is wandering past the house; "bird" when the birds are in the feeder; "up" when we are playing "laser light on the ceiling"; "dog", for safety reasons. They have now graduated to "Go potty" as I offer encouragement and sweet talk them to success.

- One day, all four cats used the toilet. I phoned everyone I knew boasting of their accomplishments. I can sense the success of soon nevermore having to scoop "gifts" out of the kitty litter and carrying them through the house to flush down a toilet. Potty training our cats is a dream coming true. The rewards are better than winning a Gold medal or receiving an Oscar!

- Anyone with pets has experienced the "thrill" of cleaning up after an episode of diarrhea. Myster E. used the toilet for such one day and it was a joy to only have to flush the toilet, rather than assembling cleaning supplies and a nose plug. I was so excited that if my bathroom were larger, I would have done cartwheels in it.

- Cats are notorious for walking through and/or "dipping" their tails into their litter box "deposits" and spreading the unhealthy remnants around the home. This behavior is now a thing of the past.

- The cats will not be taught how to flush as we want to avoid any high water bills as a result of, "Lets see how many times we can flush before Mum runs in and stops us!"

- The original artwork in our prepotty-training-now-official-cats'-powder-room, bathroom was replaced with a photo of a cat powdering her nose. Luckily, we have two bathrooms so my husband and I do not have to line up behind the cats for our "turn".

- Our purebred cats resemble royalty sitting "on the throne", but the good news is that even "commoner" cats can become kings and queens!

More T.T.T.'s:
It is vital to use appropriate kitty litter when training your cats. Tari from Best Septic Pumping in Eugene, Oregon said, "NEVER put clumping litter down your toilet because it clumps, turns to cement, and blocks your drain pipes causing hundreds of dollars worth of damage."
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