Reader Email: Can I Toilet Train an 8-Week-Old Kitten?

Training Advice

Training Advice

“Hello, I have to say, your website is awesome. I learned so much and I appreciate all the time you took to compile the information, type up all your experiences and post the videos. Your videos have given me the confidence to give this a try. The only problem I may have is with my kitty. He is brand new and we are picking him up on Sunday. Should we bring him home to a small litter box beside the toilet or the mock toilet high up off the floor with steps? I know you haven’t had any personal experience but I really want to make the first step in the right direction with the kitten and not confuse the little guy in three weeks time. I would really appreciate your opinion. Kind regards, Ewa”

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pondering[1]Congratulations on your new baby. That’s so exciting.
8-weeks is very young, and your kitten won’t have any trouble training if you wait until 12-weeks. At 8-weeks, he’s still learning about litter. Fun fact: cats don’t even learn complex cat-language until 11-weeks.
It’s more important not to have accidents than it is to start immediately, and at 8-weeks, his bowel control is very hit-and-miss.
If you still want to try, make it really easy to access the mock toilet by creating steps or a ramp. I’d also confine baby to a crate or safe room with the mock toilet until you’re sure he knows where it is, can get up and down easily, and wants to use it. Make sure the lid is secure, so it doesn’t fall on him and don’t give him access to the real toilet.
kitten-on-white1
To help the transition, start with the same litter he used at the breeder’s. Be on hand for lots of encouragement and love, as he’ll be particularly stressed the first few days.
If he’s capable and calm, it may be that he can start earlier. Keep it fun and safe, and be open to modifying your plan based on his reaction.  Let us know how it goes.
Cheers, Relaxed Cat
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