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litter box training tips for kittens - how to litter box train a kitten

How to Litter Box Train a Kitten

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If there’s anything sweeter than a brand new kitten, I don’t know what it is. If you’ve recently added a tiny feline to your family, or if you’re thinking of adopting, you’re in for hours of play, laughter, and snuggles (and maybe a shredded curtain or two, but it’s so worth it!)

One of the first things new kitten parents are concerned with is making sure that their furry bundle of joy knows how to use the litter box. Thankfully, it’s not that hard to litter box train a kitten. As a matter of fact, many of them have already learned this important skill before they even arrive at their furr-ever home.

Whether you’re lucky enough to bring home a kitten who’s already using the litter box or if you’re little friend needs some help to begin using it consistently, there are a few things you need to know to set him up for a lifetime of faithful litter box use.

Here are my top tips for getting your kitten to use the litter box.

Choose the Right Boxes

Yes, that’s right – boxes. The general rule is that you should have one box for each cat in the household, plus one extra. So if your kitten is the first feline member of your family, you should start out with two litter boxes. But even if you already have a number of litter boxes for current cats living in your house, you need to add another one to accommodate your new addition.

Number of boxes isn’t the only thing you need to think about. Remember, your new kitten has short little legs, so you’ll want to make sure that the litter boxes you choose don’t have sides so high that he can’t climb in. You can always switch to a high-sided box later.

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It’s also important to note that, although a covered box might seem like a great idea to you, many cats prefer to do their business in the open rather than in a dark enclosure that holds in all kinds of unpleasant odors. Starting out with an open box is the best way to encourage your kitten to go where you want him to.

Location, Location, Location

Ideally, you’ll want to place each litter box in a quiet location that is separate from the areas where your kitten eats and sleeps. While it might be tempting to stick them somewhere totally out of the way, they should still be easily accessible. If kitty has to go searching for a litter box in the darkest corner of the basement, he’s likely to find a more convenient spot to do his business.

Many cats and kittens prefer a corner location since they may feel vulnerable while using the litter box. Putting litter boxes in a corner allows them to keep a watchful eye on their surroundings.

Show Him Where It Is

You’ll have your kitten’s litter boxes all set up and waiting on the day you bring him home, but you won’t want to wait for him to find them on his own. You can teach your kitten to use the litter box by placing him in it at regular intervals, especially right after he’s eaten or woken up from a cat nap.

If your kitten doesn’t naturally start to dig around when you place him in the box, you may be able to teach him what to do by gently taking his front paws and helping him scratch. Once he does this, give him some space. You’ll be dying to see if he does his business, but he’ll be more likely to go if he has a little privacy. When he’s done, praise him and offer him a treat.

Dealing With Accidents

As your kitten is learning to use the litter box, he’ll probably have an occasional accident. If you catch him in the act, quickly pick him up and gently place him in the nearest litter box. Never yell when this happens. It will only scare him and teach him to associate the litter box with getting in trouble.

Clean up any accidents with an enzyme-based cleaner designed for pet odors so there’s not any lingering scent to encourage him to return to the scene of the “crime.”

The Scoop on Litter

Choosing the right litter can make a huge difference. Remember that cats have very sensitive noses, so avoid anything with a lot of artificial perfumes. They may mask odors, but they can be overwhelming to your kitten. The best way to control odor and encourage your cat to continue using his litter boxes is to make sure that you clean them regularly.

I never use anything but World’s Best Cat Litter in Olivia’s boxes. It’s made from super absorbent all natural corn, so it’s good for cats, people, and the planet. It offers amazing clumping and odor control, and it comes in a variety of formulas, so it can fit the needs of any cat family. It’s also 99% dust free and flushable, which makes it easy to keep the boxes clean.

With the right litter and a little patience, your kitten will be using the litter box in no time.

This is a sponsored post. However, all opinions and anecdotes are my own, and I never promote any products or brands I don’t believe in. ~Petfully yours, Kristen

Kristen Levine is a nationally acclaimed pet expert, influencer, and Fear Free Certified® Professional with over 30 years of experience working with pets.

Through this blog and her book, Pampered Pets on a Budget, Kristen has helped millions of pet parents solve problems and provide the best care for their dogs and cats.

Working alongside hundreds of pet professionals, including veterinarians, behaviorists and trainers inspired Kristen to become a pet parenting “guide”, providing readers with reliable information about health, wellness and lifestyle for dogs and cats and the people who love them.

A dogged advocate for pet adoption and rescue, Kristen has featured over 1,000 adoptable dogs and cats from the SPCA on live television and radio appearances to get them adopted. Her blog, has been featured in over 100 media outlets – including the New York Times, USA Today, FOX & Friends, Good Morning America, Women's Day, Reader's Digest, Good Housekeeping, Pop Sugar and more.

To stay up to date on the latest health and lifestyle trends for pets, Kristen regularly attends the top veterinary and pet product conferences, where she’s often a featured speaker.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I have been wanting to change my cat’s litter to something more eco-friendly and not as dusty! How can I change his litter the right way so he doesn’t stop using his box?

    1. Hi Caitlyn!
      I’m so glad you asked. I switched my cat to World’s Best Cat LItter over 7 years ago. We used to use clay (yuk).

      When you switch, it’s best to start adding a little of the new litter to the current litter at first. Then, each week, increase the ratio of new to old until you’re using all new litter! I would take 3-4 weeks to make the transition, that way your cat won’t notice it very much. Except that he or she might start loving the litter more!

      World’s Best is made from compressed corn so that it’s super absorbent, eliminates odors and is not dusty. It’s also flushable,even if you’re on a septic system! That’s how natural it is.

      Let me know how it goes!

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