Training Your Cat To Use The Litter Box: Tips And Tricks

Training your cat to use the litter box is an important part of pet ownership. Cats have their own reasons for not using their litter boxes, and these can be difficult to figure out. 

But by working together, you and your cat will get in the habit of using the litter box together and she’ll be healthier and happier as a result! Here are some tips to help you train your cat:

How to Train Your Cat to Use a Litter Box (Petco)
Key Takeaways
– Train your cat to use the litter box with patience and consistency.
– Provide a comfortable and appealing litter box for your cat.
– Scoop the litter box daily and clean thoroughly every 1-2 weeks.
– Use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage litter box use.
– If your cat is having litter box issues, consult with your vet to rule out any underlying health problems.

When Should You Start Training Your Cat?

You can start training your cat as soon as you bring them home. If they are a kitten, this is the perfect time to get them used to using the litter box. However, it’s also possible to train an adult cat that has never used a litter box before.

It will be easier for you and your cat if he or she has already been trained by someone else who uses the same type of litter box as yours. 

This way, there won’t be too many changes in what they are doing and it will be easier for them to adjust from one environment to another without feeling confused about where everything is located in their new home.

The benefits of training your cat can help create a strong bond between you and your feline friend. According to our post on The Benefits of Cat Training, “training can offer mental stimulation, increase their confidence, and it can even keep them physically fit

Understand Why Your Cat Needs Training

Understand why your cat needs training. Cats are naturally clean animals, and they will use a litter box if they don’t have any other choice. 

If you don’t train them, the chances of your feline friend using the bathroom in inappropriate places is pretty high. 

Some cats do not like sharing their space with other pets (or even people!), so you should make sure that your kitty uses the litter box when it’s their time to go.

Another reason why you should train your cat is that they won’t use a litter box that’s too small or too big for them and this can be dangerous! 

For instance, if kitty doesn’t fit inside his/her own private bathroom then he/she might get stuck in there and become stressed out or scared of using it again in future after having such an experience once before.”

Pick A Predictable Feeding Schedule And Put It In The Litter Box

You want to teach your cat that the litter box is a place he should use for his business, and one way to do this is by associating it with food. 

If you feed your cat at the same times every day, he will start getting hungry around those times. Place his food in the litter box, and if he eats it there, give him lots of praise!

After several days or weeks of training and practicing this routine, you should see progress in your cat’s bathroom habits. 

If all goes well, he will start using the litter box on his own without needing additional encouragement from you. However, if things go wrong (ie: Your pet refuses to eat out of the litter box), don’t hesitate to try again later with another strategy.

Do you struggle with your cat scratching your furniture? Our guide on How to Train Your Cat to Stop Scratching Furniture offers helpful tips. As we explain, “by providing appropriate scratching posts and training your cat to use them, you can save your furniture and maintain a happy household.

Get A Litter Box That Suits Your Cat’s Size And Preference

  • Size
  • Shape
  • Location

You want to make sure you have a litter box that suits your cat’s size, as well as its preference for privacy. 

You also want the location of the litter box to be convenient for you and other members of your household. This may mean moving it from room to room if necessary. Litter boxes should be placed near where your cat spends most of its time, such as at windows or doors where they can look out onto the world outside their house. 

If there are multiple cats using a single litter box, they should be separated by at least one other wall or piece of furniture so each one has privacy while doing their business without competing with one another over territory rights!

Make sure that you’re using an absorbent material in your pet’s litter box because otherwise things could get messy fast! You don’t want anywhere else in your house smelling like cat urine after all…

Factors to ConsiderTypes of Litter Boxes
Size of your catStandard
Age of your catLarge (jumbo)
Mobility of your catCovered (enclosed)
Type of litterTop-entry
Personal preferenceSelf-cleaning

The table above outlines several factors to consider when choosing a litter box for your cat, as well as different types of litter boxes that may suit your cat’s needs.

Consider factors like your cat’s size, age, and mobility, as well as their personal preferences for open or covered boxes, and different types of litter. Popular brands like Purina Tidy Cats and ScoopFree offer a range of litter box options to fit your cat’s needs and your home’s layout.

Avoid Too Many Choices

When you’re trying to get your cat to use the litter box, don’t overwhelm them with too many choices. 

Cats are creatures of habit and they like predictability. They also don’t like surprises, so giving them too many options can be overwhelming for them.

If you are training your cat for the first time, choose a location that’s away from busy areas and noisy spots (i.e., near a washing machine). If an area is too busy or noisy, it will cause stress for your cat and may deter him or her from using the litter box in that spot at all!

Cats on counters and tables can be problematic for some pet owners. Our post on Training Your Cat to Stay off Counters and Tables provides practical steps to address the behavior. “Start by training your cat to stay down and rewarding them for good behavior. Consistency is key.”

Change The Litter Often Enough To Keep It Dry And Fresh

How often you should change the litter depends on how many cats are using it. For one or two cats, every few days is a good rule of thumb. 

If your cat likes to dig in the litter box and kick up a lot of dust, then change it more often (every day or so).

When changing the lukyter, clean out both the box and scoop with soap and water. Don’t use harsh chemicals or cleaning products they could be harmful if swallowed by your pet! Also, don’t use scented litters; some cats find these smells offensive (and end up going somewhere else).

Give Your Cat Extra Attention When It Uses Its Litter Box

In order to train your cat to use the litter box, you’ll need to give it extra attention whenever it uses its designated bathroom spot.

The key is positive reinforcement. Cats are motivated by praise and rewards, so if you want to encourage your cat to continue using the litter box, reward them with treats and lots of affection. This way they’ll learn that using their favorite bathroom place is a good thing!

When it comes to cat training, there are do’s and don’ts every owner should know. Our post on The Do’s and Don’ts of Cat Training, Explained states, “DO use positive reinforcement, DO be patient and consistent, DON’T punish bad behavior, DON’T expect overnight success.”

Use A Secluded Place For The Litter Box

The litter box should be in a place where the cat feels that it’s safe. Cats are creatures of habit and prefer to use a box that is secluded from other pets, children, loud noises and windows. 

Don’t forget to train your cat early on if you have other pets in the house because they can get territorial over their territory if they feel threatened by another animal entering their space.

Reduces stress for shy cats.Can trap odors.
Provides privacy.Inconvenient to clean.
Prevents intrusion by other pets.Can decrease visibility for cats.

The table above outlines the pros and cons of using a secluded location for your cat’s litter box. While it can help reduce stress for shy cats and provide added privacy, it can also trap odors and be inconvenient to clean.

Additionally, if the location is too secluded, cats may have trouble finding the litter box. It’s important to strike a balance, offering a location that is private enough for your cat to feel secure, but still visible and easy to maintain.

Clean Up Accidents With A Good Deodorizer

When your cat has an accident and you want to clean it up, it’s important to know that some cleaners will make the problem worse. 

The enzyme cleaner works by using enzymes that break down the odor-causing compounds in the urine, so they’re great for getting rid of smells. They also don’t damage surfaces or leave behind any extra residue.

Ammonia based products can also be used to remove odors, but they do more than just mask them—they actually add a layer of ammonia over top of the old scent and make matters worse! 

Bleach is another common household cleaning agent that does work well at removing stains from carpets and upholstery, however it’s not effective for odor removal because it leaves behind its own strong scent which can overwhelm any other smells in the room. 

Vinegar is another substance commonly found in kitchens all over America; unfortunately this doesn’t help either as it doesn’t have any disinfectant properties (aside from an acidic pH) and will do little more than simply make things smell like vinegar after use!

Think your cat can’t be trained to walk on a leash? Think again. Our guide on How to Train Your Cat to Walk on a Leash offers a step-by-step approach. “Start indoors, offer treats and positive reinforcement, and gradually move outside. With time and patience, your cat can learn to enjoy outdoor adventures on a leash.”

Don’t Forget To Clean Up After Yourself, Too!

It is also important to remember that cats will not use a litter box if it is dirty. Before you start training your cat, make sure you are cleaning the litter box regularly. 

Cats are extremely clean animals, and they won’t use a dirty litter box so be sure to keep it clean at all times.

Once your cat has learned how to use the litter box, you should then begin cleaning it at least once a week with an enzymatic cleaner or vinegar & water mixture (1:1).

Reward Calm Behavior With Treats And Attention

If you’re rewarding your cat with treats and attention when he or she uses the litter box, soon enough, using the litter box will become routine. 

It’s not unusual for cats to develop routines with their daily routines. Your cat may also begin to associate being rewarded with using the litter box.

The next time you see your cat approaching his or her litter box in a calm manner, reward them with treats and affection!

This is one of the best ways to train a cat because it tells them “this is what I want from you”.

Look Out For Signs Of Medical Problems

If your cat suddenly starts urinating or defecating outside of the litter box, it’s important to look for signs of medical problems. 

Some common health issues can cause a cat to start urinating or defecating outside of the litter box and include urinary tract problems, diabetes and kidney disease. 

The best way to determine if your cat has one of these conditions is by taking them to see a veterinarian who will run tests on their urine and blood as well as conduct an examination.

Sign of Medical ProblemDescription
Frequent urinationIndicates a possible urinary tract infection, kidney disease, or bladder stones.
Blood in urineMay be a sign of a urinary tract infection, bladder stones, or other more serious conditions like cancer.
Difficulty urinatingCan be a sign of a blockage caused by crystals, stones, or a tumor, which requires immediate medical attention.
Straining in the litter boxCan also indicate a urinary blockage, especially in male cats, which is a medical emergency.
Changes in appetite or weightMay indicate underlying medical issues like kidney disease, diabetes, or hyperthyroidism.


Cats are intelligent and highly trainable. They’re also individuals, which means that any cat training is going to be different from one cat to the next. 

But with these tips and tricks, you can help your feline friends get their litter box habits down pat so they won’t be “accidents” anymore!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you train your cat to use the litter box:

Hill’s Pet: How to Litter Box Train a Kitten: This guide provides step-by-step instructions for litter training a kitten, as well as tips for solving common litter box problems.

Four Paws: How to Train a Cat to Use the Litter Box: This article offers helpful advice for introducing a new cat to the litter box or retraining a cat that’s having litter box issues.

WikiHow: Litter Train a Cat: WikiHow’s comprehensive guide to litter training a cat covers everything from selecting the right litter box to teaching your cat to use it consistently.


How do I know if my cat is litter box trained?

Cats that are litter box trained will typically use their litter box regularly without needing to be prompted or trained. Your cat will likely show an awareness and preference for the litter box, and will use it to go to the bathroom.

What should I do if my cat isn’t using the litter box?

If your cat isn’t using the litter box, there are several things you can try. Some suggestions include changing the type of litter, cleaning the litter box more frequently, or consulting a vet to rule out any underlying health issues.

How do I choose the right litter box for my cat?

When choosing a litter box for your cat, consider factors like your cat’s size, age, and mobility, as well as the type of litter you plan to use. Opt for a box that’s large enough for your cat to easily turn around in, with sides that are low enough to allow easy entry and exit.

How often should I clean the litter box?

To keep your cat comfortable and promote consistent litter box use, it’s important to clean the box regularly. Plan to scoop out waste and clumps daily, and give the box a thorough cleaning (including replacing the litter) every 1-2 weeks.

What can I do if my cat is spraying or marking outside the litter box?

If your cat is spraying or marking outside the litter box, this could be a sign of a behavioral or health issue. Consult with your vet to rule out any underlying health problems, and work with a behaviorist to address any anxiety, stress, or other emotional factors that may be contributing to the behavior.