A lot of owners are surprised to hear that you can train your hedgehog to use a litter box.
These little critters are smarter than a lot of people realize, and successfully potty training them can make your job a whole lot easier!
While it’s not realistic to expect a one hundred percent success rate, a decent number of hedgehogs can be trained to use a litter box if you do it right.
The nice thing is that it’s cheap and easy to give it a shot. So really, there’s nothing to lose if you want to try!
In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of hedgehog litter box training and how to get everything set up. If you follow these instructions you’ll have a good chance of making it work.
If you can pull it off, training your hedgehog to use a litter box is an extremely convenient thing to do. If you ever talk to an owner who’s done it they’ll rave about what a game-changer it was for them
This is primarily because of the time you save having to clean up after them. It greatly minimizes the amount of spot cleaning you need to do on a daily basis which makes a huge difference.
You’ll also save money on hedgehog bedding as well. Because your hedgehog will be using their litter box, the bedding stays clean longer. This means you don’t have to change it as much and can save a little money.
Quick Note: You’ll be surprised just how much money you can save by potty training your hedgehog. A lot of people think it’s just a few bucks here and there, but some owners have said they’re buying about half as much bedding as before!
Realistic Success Rate
Now here’s where you have to be realistic because not all hedgehogs can be trained to use a litter box. For one reason or another, it just isn’t as consistent as training other pets.
We’ve talked to experienced breeders and owners who have been training and owning pet hedgehogs for ages. Even they say that sometimes potty training works, and other times it doesn’t.
Sometimes a hedgehog will start using the litter box without any issues and very minimal training. But other hedgehogs show almost no progress no matter how much you try.
The one thing that’s worth pointing out is that the consistency and time you spend trying to potty train them will make a big impact on the chance of success.
Here’s what we mean:
A lot of owners try really hard for a couple of months and then give up when they don’t see progress. While that’s their choice to make and won’t negatively impact the quality of their hedgehog’s life, they could be missing out.
Some experienced owners have said their hedgehog started to successfully use the litter box after over a year of consistent training. Some hedgies are faster learners than others!
While that might seem like a long time to wait before seeing progress, it’s not as bad as it seems. Potty training your hedgehog is not actually that time-consuming. Adding it to your existing handling and playtime doesn’t take much effort.
This means you can gradually make progress and attempt to get your hedgehog to use the litter box without overhauling your schedule with them. Then if it works out, you’re done!
How To Litter Train A Hedgehog (Step By Step)
Now that you know the “what” and the “why”, it’s time to dig into the “how”.
Hedgehog litter box training is much less complicated than you might think. The biggest thing is consistency!
1. Get The Proper Supplies
The first thing you need to do is get the necessary supplies that you’ll need to get all set up.
If you want to buy a litter box, here’s the one we recommend.
- Potty training made easy
- Designed to prevent messes
- Attaches directly to any wire cage
If you’d rather make one yourself then a tissue box or similarly sized cardboard box will be your best bet. Take that and cut the top half off, then carve out a lower spot so your hedgehog can get in without difficulty.
Once you have your litter box you’ll need some actual litter. Here’s a good one to try.
- Made of non-toxic 100% bentonite with all-natural minerals so it’s safe for your pet
- Absorbs 10x its weight in liquid
- Critter litter, in combination with a potty training program, will reduce cage cleaning by 30% or more
Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to set it up.
2. Set Up The Litter Box
Place the litter inside the box in an even layer. There’s no perfect formula for this, just make sure there’s enough to get the job done.
Now that the box is ready you need to make sure it’s in the right spot. Putting the litter box in the right place is incredibly important if you want to potty train your hedgehog successfully.
The general rule to follow is to put the box on the opposite side of the cage as their food and water setup. Hedgehogs don’t like to go to the bathroom where they eat, and this is also smart from a health and sanitation perspective.
Make sure that the lowered spot where they can come in and out is easily accessible. If you have the entrance wedged next to their wheel or another object it might discourage them from using it.
Side Note: Some owners recommend placing some of your hedgehog’s poop in the litter box so they start to associate that as a place to go to the bathroom. This is a technique we’ve used ourselves and have had good success.
3. Begin Potty Training
Now that you have your hedgehog litter box all set up, it’s time to start potty training! The younger your hedgehog is when you start training them the better, but it’s definitely possible when done with older hedgies too.
Like we said before, be consistent about your training efforts and don’t give up after a few weeks. This is something that can take a while in some instances but the reward is definitely worth it.
In short, litter training consists of placing your hedgehog in their litter box when they’re about to potty. The hope is that over time they’ll start to do this on their own.
This is why one of the most important skills you need as an owner is the ability to recognize when your hedgehog is about to go to the bathroom. If you fail to notice this then you’ll miss the opportunity to enforce this behavior.
Over time you’ll get better at this and looking out for these signs will become second nature.
Aside from actively watching them while you play, there are a couple of times that hedgehogs seem to like going potty naturally. The first is in the morning after they’ve just gotten up, and the other is after they’ve had a meal.
Try to be nearby at these times so you can place them in their litter box if you see signs that they’re about to go. This is something that a lot of owners miss when trying to potty train their hedgehogs, and it makes a huge difference.
Be Patient And Give It A Shot!
Like we’ve said before, there’s no telling how long it will take to successfully train your hedgehog to use a litter box (or if they’ll use it all).
Some pick it up right away, and others need months before showing progress. The only thing you can control is the level of consistency and effort you put into the process on your end.
If it works, litter training a hedgehog will make the overall ownership experience much easier. You’ll spend less time cleaning, buy less bedding, and have a feeling of satisfaction about pulling it off.
We highly recommend that you give it a shot and see what happens. It’s so easy to try that there’s really no reason not to.
If you’re going through the process and have questions we’re more than happy to help. Just give us a shout!