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Training Your Cat to Use the Toilet
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Training Your Cat to Use the Toilet

Ellie, Critter Culture Staff
Updated Nov 26, 2020

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The idea of a cat using a human bathroom may sound absurd at first, but toilet training your cat actually has several benefits. When your kitty does their business on the toilet, you can finally say goodbye to the hassle of a litter box. That means no more unpleasant smells, no more spending on litter, and no more time spent scooping and cleaning. Cat toilet training can take some time and patience to get right, but it's certainly worth the initial effort.

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1

Consider your cat's suitability

Confident adult cat. Delmaine Donson / Getty Images

Before you begin, keep in mind that toilet training isn't suitable for every cat. Age, for example, is one important factor to consider. Young kittens often struggle to stick with the process, while senior cats may lack the mobility to jump onto a toilet. Your cat's confidence level will also determine how successful toilet training is. Skittish cats usually prefer to bury their waste in litter, so they may not take to pooping or peeing straight into a toilet. Finally, if you think toilet training may be the right solution for a cat who poops on the floor, cats who already have trouble using their litter box typically struggle just as much with using the toilet.

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Prepare for setbacks

Two cats in a litter box. CasarsaGuru / Getty Images

Toilet training only takes a few steps, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Cats are deeply ingrained with the instinct to dig around and cover their waste, so teaching them to go against those natural behaviors takes time. As such, it's important to have patience. Be prepared to take two steps forward and one step back, and don't give up on the process just because your cat has an accident or two.

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Gather the supplies

Cat wrapped in toilet roll. g215 / Getty Images

The key to successful cat toilet training is gradually transitioning away from the litter box. To do so, you'll need a set of cat training seats for your toilet. These seat trays are made with several special inserts. The top tray has a solid base that you can fill with litter while the remaining inserts have holes of increasing sizes. As you progress through training, you will remove these inserts one by one until your cat is ready to use the toilet with no assistance.

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4

Choose a toilet

Just as cats typically use one litter box, they'll generally only use one toilet. So, if you have multiple bathrooms, take some time to choose the right one for your kitty. The toilet needs to be in a room your cat has constant access to, so choose a bathroom in a location where you don't mind keeping the door open. The room also needs to be big enough to fit your cat's current litter box beside the toilet.

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Raise the litter box gradually

Cat on a toilet next to a litter box. Seregraff / Getty Images

Once all the preparations are complete, it's time to start toilet training your cat. The first step is to gradually raise their litter tray until it's at the same height as your toilet seat. This will teach your cat to jump onto a higher level when they need to go to the bathroom. Start by placing the current litter box next to your toilet, then raise it by a few inches every week or so. You can use old magazines or cardboard boxes to prop the litter box up during the process, but make sure it is very stable.

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Place the litter box on the toilet

After a few weeks, the litter box should be level with your toilet seat. The next week, place the box on top of your toilet seat and remove the makeshift foundation you created. Once everything is in place, monitor your cat for the next few days. If they eliminate comfortably with the litter box on the toilet, you should have no problem moving on to the training seats. However, if your cat begins having multiple accidents, you may want to begin the gradual raising process again before progressing.

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Bring in the training seat

Cat sitting on an open litter box. Lightspruch / Getty Images

Next, it's time to start using your cat's training seat. Following the manufacturer's instructions, firmly attach the training tray with the solid base to your toilet. Then, fill the pan with litter. It's a good idea to buy flushable litter for this step. That way, you can empty the tray right into the toilet to save time and effort.

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Transition away from litter

Cat sitting on a toilet. Seregraff / Getty Images

Give your cat an adjustment period of up to a week, then begin the process of transitioning away from litter. Start by removing the solid-based training tray and replacing it with the tray that has the smallest hole. Each time you clean the pan, fill it with slightly less litter than before. Once your cat adjusts, switch out the current tray for the next largest option, repeating the process every few days.

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Reap the rewards

Cat sitting on a toilet. belchonock / Getty Images

Switching out training trays can take a few weeks, but once your cat is comfortably using the insert with the largest hole, it's finally time to reap the rewards of the process. Remove the training seat completely, and you should find that your cat will happily eliminate straight into the toilet with no litter at all. Now, all you need to do is flush your cat's waste when you pass by—and remember to leave the door open.

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Try alternatives if it doesn't work out

Cats looking into toilet. Don Mason / Getty Images

Toilet training your cat is a simple yet long-winded process, but it doesn't work for every cat. That said, there are some alternative routes you can try when things don't go as planned. If your cat is struggling to use an elevated litter box, try setting up a ramp next to the toilet so they don't need to jump. If your cat refuses to eliminate without litter, you may want to train them to use a regular empty litter tray first.

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