How to Litter Train a Kitten

This guide was written by Joe Francis
Updated: November 17, 2020
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In this guide

Litter box training may seem like a daunting part of getting a kitten, but you shouldn’t wait. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that you’ll end up with a mess around your house. Fortunately, litter training isn’t as hard as you think it may be.

Supplies You’ll Need to Litter Train

Litter Box

Buy your kitten a new cat litter box. You don’t want to reuse one from an older cat. If your kitten is startled by going into a litter box at first, simply remove the lid until they have fully trained, when you’ll be able to add the lid back.

Cat Litter

There are lots of cat litters out there, from simple non-clumping and clumping cat litter through to high-end eco-friendly litter. Most cats aren’t too fussy about the type of litter you buy, but they can get fussy if you change it at a later date.

Before buying your cat litter do your research. You’ll want a litter that is easy to clean out and also helps to reduce the odour of the faeces. We prefer clumping cat litters that clump around the mess to make them easier to clean and trap the smells. You can check out our reviews of the best clumping cat litters and the best biodegradable & flushable cat litters to help with your choice.

Treats and Toys

As with any training, a little positive reinforcement goes a long way. Buy your kitten some treats! If you don’t want to go for treats, a few pieces of kitten-friendly dry food will work too.

How to Litter Train Your Kitten

  1. First, show the litter box to your kitten as soon as you bring it home. Make sure you don’t need to move the litter box. Moving it around could confuse your kitten.
  2. Watch your kitten closely and follow a regular litter box schedule. If your kitten starts pacing, sniffing the ground, and mewing, it may need the toilet – place it in the litter box!
  3. You’ll also want to put your kitten in its litter box after it finishes eating or wakes up from a nap.
  4. When it does use the litter box, offer it a simple treat or toy. Don’t forget to praise your kitten since cats are very responsive to your tone of voice.
  5. If there’s an accident, don’t shout at your cat. Negative reinforcement makes litter training a lot harder. Simply take your kitten to litter box as soon as this has happened.
  6. If there is an accident, clean the area thoroughly so that there’s no lingering smell. Use an enzyme-based cleaner or else the remaining smell might encourage your kitten to use that spot again.
  7. Keep the litter box clean. Remove soiled litter on a daily basis (ideally straight away at the beginning). If your kitten has an accident outside its box or litter pours over, again, an enzyme cleaner or a cat litter mat could be your best clean-up friend.

Be Patient

Most kittens pick up litter box training quickly, and the process certainly goes faster than most new owners think. But don’t be discouraged if your kitten doesn’t take to it right away. They’ll get the hang of it sooner rather than you think.

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