Litter TrainingGiven the growing interest in keeping hedgehogs as apartment pets, it is of little wonder that the discussion of "potty training" is becoming ever more commonplace. Can hedgehogs be litter trained? If so, how? These and other important questions need to be answered if hedgehogs are to become successful candidates for free-roaming apartment (or house) living.
A shallow box or tray that is low enough to the floor to allow your hedgehog to climb in with little or no effort is required. Something that is approximately 12X12 inches wide and 2 or 3 inches high is ideal. Fill this with a quality non-clumping cat litter and clean and maintain it just like you would for a house cat.
The first rule to remember when training a hedgehog to do anything is that they are highly trainable if the want to be. This is hardly surprising considering the intelligence and complex range of emotions and personalities that are displayed in these creatures. In other words, if they want to be trained to use a litter box, they will use it, but no amount of training will convince some of the less than "civilized" hedgehogs out there!
Just because your pet refuses to use a box at first doesn't necessarily mean that he fits into this category, however. Some hedgehogs catch on rather quickly, while others take more time. So, remember to always be patient. There just are not any hard and fast rules when it comes to hedgehog training.
At first, it may be a good idea to confine your pet to the bathroom or similar room, preferably where the litter box will be permanently situated. If he makes a mistake, place this in his box and show him where it is. There is no need to discipline your hedgehog and even if you do, it will likely have a negative, rather than positive effect.
This is usually sufficient but not always. If he continues to miss the box but is, instead, doing his business in another location, move the box to that spot until he is trained to use it.
In most cases, hedgehogs can be house-trained in less time than it takes for a kitten or puppy. Most will even want to use the litter box naturally, but even if they don't, they can (in most cases) be completely house-broken in 2 to 3 days.
After he has been using the litter box regularly for a few days it will be safe to allow him free access to the rest of the home. He will return to his special little bathroom every time he hears nature calling, allowing you to walk about the house, fully confident that you won't be stepping in anything squishy ever again!
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