HH: Potty training

Potty Training your hamster

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Hamsters are generally clean animals. Unlike rats, they don't give most people hives when they walk on you. This is partly becauseOther animals use potties too.  This guinea pig Mervin displays her cleanliness!This RAT Picard uses her litter box religiously.  It's made of a tupperwear container.their claws are generally smaller, and also because they don't run around in their own feces and urine. Hamsters generally tend to urniate in one corner of their cage, at least the older ones, for their own porpous of cleanliness. Their feces are digested twice (wich means they eat them after they are digested once) so their bodies can get all the nutrients from the food they eat. This is actually not uncommon in rodents.

However, there is a way to get that well-known 'smelly' hamster cage to be less smelly generally. Beleive it or not, hamsters can train themselves to use a litter box. Every modern hamster home should have one. Only a couple of hamster 'potties' are on the market, but some can also be made (see "Make your own").

Habitrail is a good example of a company who sells hamster potties. These triangular shaped plastic products usually come with litter, or some stores let you buy expensive habitrail litter. I've found that cat litter works just as good. Some kinds of 'potties' are square too (see picture at bottom). Potties cost about $5.00, and are generally worth it. When looking for one, look for a well-ventalated, chew-proof, and easy to clean module. To buy a hamster potty for $4.05 (not including shipping and handling), click the picture.

The point:
So, in short, to have a modern hamster home, it needs to be equipped with a well-ventalated hamster potty. With it, you also need clumping litter (cat litter will do fine), and a scoop. Most hamster-potties come with a conveinient, hamster-sized scoop. However, if you don't have one, a plastic fork will suffice.

The Dwarf hamster Mango insists on privacy!

Problems with mis-use
Often times, your hamster will use its 'hamster potty' for more than one thing. My hamster Po-Po used his litter box at one point for its normal purpous, but also for storing food, eating food, and sleeping! I solved this problem by offering him a peanut-butter lid in the same cage with litter in it. I suggest you try that too, if you have the same problem or a similar one. Allow your hamster to eat seeds in his litter box. The shells of the seeds left shows that your hamster is knowledgable of how this 'potty' is often cleaned out and how the seed shells will be discarded. Don't, however, allow your hamster to store anything in it. Offering your hamster more than one potty in different places is a great idea.

The major problem you might come up against is nesting in the litter box. I can't help you much there. Just try to give alternate living quarters. Boxes, tunnels... little plastic houses for habitrail and sam cages. Putting treats, bedding, and soft material in them might help.

If you have any other problems, please E-mail me and I will answer as best I can.

Notice the placement of the litter box in the cagePlacement is very important for a hamster potty. Most hamsters 'go' in the corner nearest their water bottle-or so I have noticed. They usually also groom themselves there. This is obviously a good choice of placement. However, you should put it wherever your hamster usually urinates without it. It might help to pick up some little hamster-poops (eww! yuckie gross) and put them in the litter box for starters.

Make your own
Making your own hamster potty is easy and inexpensive. An empy small, plastic container will do fine. Cut a wide opening in the side about an inch above it's floor (so if the hamster digs in the litter, it wont fly out as easily). If possible, cut a hole in the ceiling of the container (for ventalation, and to discourage the hamster to sleep in it etc). Use cat litter (or hamster litter) and cover the floor of the containter with it. Use a fork (plastic works best) to clean out the litter once every day or every other day. See Cleaning.

For litter, you can buy hamster litter or finely-grained, clumping hamster litter (scented or no, but it may matter to your hamster). Every day or every-other day the soiled litter should be scooped out with a scoop. If you don't have a scoop, a fork will do (plastic works best). When you clean out the hamsters cage, dump out the un-used litter and scrub the bottom of the potty. Then dry it, and put in fresh litter.

Safari Hut potty by HabitrailGood hamster potty, for sale!