How to Litter Train Your New Kitten
If you've recently adopted a kitten, it's likely you've already begun house training him/her. The earlier you start with house training, the easier the process will be. The longer your kitten thinks it is okay to have "accidents" around the house, the harder it will be to break the habit.
Your kitten will have accidents, but it's important to not give up on the process or lose patience. By following the steps below, you'll be well on your way to having a house trained kitten!
To start house training your kitten, you'll need a litter box, litter and a scoop. The litter box should be large, as your kitten is going to grow! You want the litter box to be large enough for your full-grown cat to turn around in. Cats can also be fastidious about cleanliness, so a larger litter box will give your cat more space to eliminate without dirtying himself/herself. The litter box should also have a low lip on it to allow your small kitten to climb in easily.
There are many types of litter including clay, crystals and natural materials. There are also different varieties of each, including scented, clumping and multi-cat. You may have to try a few to find a type of litter that both you and your cat like. If your kitten has already been trained or partially trained to use a litter box, it's best to continue using the same type of litter. If you decide you'd like to switch types, slowly integrate the new litter into the old so your kitten can get used to it before fully switching.
Establish a routine for eating, sleeping and playing to make it easier to predict when your kitten will need to eliminate. Place your kitten in the litter box immediately following a nap, meal or play session to signal that the litter box is the place to "go".
Cats can be picky, so any changes to litter and litter box location should be made gradually. You should have the litter box placed prominently in the room your kitten is staying in to start, but not near food or water bowls. Over time, you can gradually move the litter box until it is in your preferred location, but again, not near food or water bowls. Cats can be shy, so ideally this is in a low-traffic area of your home where your kitten can have some privacy.
If you have a multi-cat household, expect to purchase additional litter boxes once adding your kitten to the family. The general rule is one litter box per cat, plus one extra. By this rule, if you already have one cat and you add a kitten to the family, you should have three litter boxes available for them.
If you catch your kitten eliminating outside the litter box, quickly pick him/her up and place him/her into the litter box. Never scold your kitten after the fact, since he/she won't understand.
Scoop your kitten's litter box at least once a day, and change the litter frequently. For non-clumping litter, you might need to empty the box and refill it once a week. Clumping varieties don't need to be changed as often but should be dumped once they develop an odor that lasts after scooping.
Finally, cats can be prone to eliminating repeatedly in areas that smell of urine or feces. If your kitten has an accident outside the litter box, it's important to clean the spot well with a pet stain remover to avoid lingering scent and continued problems. Using an odor eliminating product such as the Urine Off Clean Up Kit works to permanently removing odors instead of simply masking them.
Most cats and kittens pick up litter training quickly. If your cat is frequently eliminating outside the litter box, there might be a medical reason that your vet should check out.