Potty training a hamster has long been the concern for many new hamster owners because it is well acknowledged that hamsters are not as smart or closely bonded with human beings compared with cats and dogs. Since potty training is always necessary for home-kept pets, I will share my own experience in training and introduce the basic steps of potty training.
Why should I potty train my hamster?
The origin purpose of potty training is for pet owners’ convenience, but it will eventually benefit the hamster.
It is understandable that you do not clean the hamster cage as the recommended frequency, after all, it is a really tiring and unpleasant job. What’s worse, the job must be done at a rather high frequency in order to keep our fluffy comfortable and healthy.
But things would be totally different if you successfully potty train your hamster: you would just need to clean the potty itself regularly and your fluffy will always be clean and healthy. Compared with thoroughly cleaning the whole cage, including complex steps like getting out all the decorations, change all the beddings, clean every toy, rinse the food bowl, and so on, cleaning the potty will be way much easier.
The ultimate advantage of the potty train is that the sanitation condition of the hamster will be highly improved, which contributes a lot to its health. Once the cleaning procedure is shortened, you can do it any time, like when your episodes or game are loading, or when your dinner is in the oven, so the frequency will rise largely. And researches have revealed that always having a clean potty will effectively prevent your fluffy from suffering any kind of urogenital diseases.
What should I prepare for potty training?
The tools can be really simple.
In the process, you may need to hold your hamster for many times. In the case of getting bitten or attaching the disgusting excreta, I would suggest you prepare several pairs of gloves. Single-use gloves maybe a little thin, but since they do not create any extra cleaning job, they are still a good choice.
In potty training, there is no doubt that a potty is the most important item.
There are several ways that you can get a perfect potty. First, buy one in the pet store or on Amazon. As one of the most common pet accessories, the potty is never difficult to purchase. Second, you may want to make one yourself to save some cash and I fully support you. Unwanted Tupperware boxes or glass bowls are qualified for the job without any question and they are easier to clean.
In the transformation, make sure the entrance of the potty is relatively low so that your fluffy can climb inside easily even when they are ill or old. You can also choose to add a lid on the top of the potty to alleviate the leak of the stink according to your own will.
Choices for litter are also diversified.
Sand is the cheapest and most convenient. But make sure the sand you choose will not agglomerate with water because hamsters will feel uncomfortable with the sand and may refuse to use the potty again.
Paper will also do good. You can slice some read paper and knead them into small paper balls when you watch tv. This is a cheap and eco-friendly option.
If you do not trust in these homemade litter mentioned above, you can directly buy some commercial litter in the pet store, like Critter Litter. If the local pet store failed to offer specialized hamster litter, you can choose cat litter too.
In fact, once your fluffy accomplish the potty training, his original beddings in the cage can be used in the potty, which is definitely most convenient choice. However, since we are still at the starting stage to train them on how to pee in the potty, a different kind of litter can help them emphasize the specific spot and connect the scent intimately with urine.
Steps of potty training
The first question is: does your hamster pee at a specific corner in his cage?
1. Rearrange the cage
Get several more shelters. When putting them in the cage, keep a corner vacant. Hamsters would choose to pee as far from their shelters as possible, so if without any choices, they will pee at the corner you chose for them. After cleaning, put everything back right where they are, and it will not take long for your fluffy to learn to pee at that corner in the cage.
2. Reserve some old beddings in that corner
While cleaning, do not throw away every piece of used beddings. Choose some beddings your fluffy has peed on and refill them in the specific corner. If the beddings are still wet, you may cover it with some clean ones. With the scent guide, your fluffy would like to pee at the same place which has shown to be a safe spot.
After your hamster has a good command of always peeing at the same place in his cage, he will be ready for the training below.
Yes (or your fluffy has successfully learned to do so)
1.Put the potty and litter in his cage
Simply put it in the corner you have chosen without any further movements for about two or three days. Hamsters are sensitive creatures and sudden changes in their cages may shock them, so simply let them get familiar with the potty and release the stress brought by environment changing.
2. Gently put him in the potty
In the getting-familiar period, if your fluffy has already started to use the potty according to his old habit, you can save a lot of energy. If not, he will likely choose a new spot to pee. You need to interrupt the behavior by gently pat his back and slowly put him in the potty. If he chooses to pee in the potty, you may offer some of his favorite treats. Repeat the behavior continued until the potty becomes his first and only choice.
Potty training a hamster can be really difficult and dull because they are astonishingly stubborn sometimes motivated by the instinct in their genes. If your fluffy failed to learn it, peeing in the specific corner is also remarkable progress. You can change the beddings in the corner only instead of the cage, which saves as much job as simply cleaning a potty.