Starting to Train Your Kitten to Use the Litter Box

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Cats are naturally very clean and chances are your kitten will already have learned how to use the litter box from her mother before she comes to live with you. All you'll need to do is buy a litter box big enough for your kitten to move around in and fill it with enough litter to cover the bottom of the tray.

Cat in litter boxRemember, accidents will happen. Even the smartest kitten is bound to have the occasional accident. Whatever you do, don't punish her. Praise her when she does use the litter box and maybe offer her a small reward, like a kibble of her favorite kitten food, and you'll soon be back on track.

Beginning litter box training

As a general guideline, have one litter box more than the number of cats in the house. For example a two-cat household should have three litter boxes for ease of accessibility. Upon your kitten's arrival in her new home, immediately show her where her litter boxes are located. Watch your kitten closely at first and be sure to put her in there after meals if you see her sniffing around, crouching or generally behaving like she needs to go.

Litter box dos and don'ts


  • Put litter boxes in quiet, calm locations that are easy for your kitten to reach, away from noisy household appliances
  • Place your kitten's litter box away from her bed and, in a spot that's reasonably private
  • Empty the tray regularly — your kitten will not want to use it if it's "dirty."
  • Scoop out your kitten's litter boxes daily and change the litter as needed


  • Use disinfectants and bleach to clean the litter box. Some disinfectants are toxic to cats, so it's best to only use hot water and detergent
  • Attempt to clean the litter box if you are pregnant. Have someone else clean out the tray. If you must clean the litter box yourself, make sure you wear rubber gloves and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Thoroughly cleanse the litter box daily. This will minimize the risk of toxoplasmosis, which although very rare, can cause serious problems to unborn babies

Making adjustments

If your kitten won't use the litter boxes provided, you may need to make them more appealing. Consider switching to another type of litter, providing litter boxes with lower sides, adding or removing covers to the boxes, moving them to quieter areas, discontinuing the use of deodorants, or cleaning them more frequently. Some kittens will stop using the litter boxes when they have a urinary infection, so a visit to your veterinarian may also be necessary.

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