How to Potty Train a Cat, Litter Box Training for Kittens, Older Cats and Stray Cats

How to Potty Train a Cat
How to Potty Train a Cat

Learning how to potty train a cat is one of the basics for cat lovers. Here is all you need to know about litter box training for kittens, older cats, and even stray cats. 

As a cat owner, you have seen success in cat training; people training their cats to sit while waiting for food, some training their cats to high five, and even others teach them to jump and roll. All this is no different to potty training the good thing is that potty has proper step guidelines.

Over the years man has been trying to get cats to poop or pee in the toilet with little results, but someone came up with an excellent idea of using a litter training seat for a step by step procedure that gets your cat to use the toilet. The idea was so good that companies have come up with potty toilet training kits that are easy to cut off and train cuts with. In this article I will see to it, to expand your knowledge in all aspects involving potty training which includes litter training, benefits, demerits, steps for the potty training, etc.

How to Litter Box Basics Kitten, Older Cats, and Stray or Feral Cats

Before we get to potty/ toilet training first, we will look at litter box training because cats need to learn to use a litter tray for potty training thus this topic contains some valuable training contents that won’t be included in the toilet training issue.

When training cats, it’s essential to know that the training comes differently for kittens, stray cats, feral cats and older cats. It’s easier for younger cats to accept the change of environment but for adult cats, it’s a bit harder. Fortunately, kittens and cats are naturally fastidious animals and have a natural tendency to use litter boxes.

Kitten Litter Box Training

Some people think that queens “mother cats” teach their kittens how to use litter kit, but this is not the case because the kittens learn on their own. However, it’s easier for kittens to learn about litter quicker than adult cats because at a young age they are ready to learn and haven’t gone through a lot of experience.

This makes it harder for older cats to learn new tricks e.g. feral cats, but still, they can learn. Here are the needed equipment’s, steps and instruction for training kittens:

The different types of cat litter to use:

  • Scented
  • Unscented
  • Cat litters made of clay, sand, wood shavings or recycled shredded newspapers.

Try a different type of litter if your cat doesn’t like the scent or texture of the one you chose; fortunately, this is very much uncommon especially for unscented litter.

What’s needed?

  • Lower size or lower entrance Litter box/tray to ensure easy entry and exit because kittens are small.
  • Cat Litter
  • Treats – To reward the kitten for successfully using the litter box.
  • Litter scoop or litter box liners
  • Soap
  • White vinegar and water solution
  • Paper bags to capture the waste


Choose the Right Litter

After choosing the right litter and litter box, place the litter box at a private, quiet, easily accessible place i.e. location is crucial.

Fill the litter box with litter at the height of 1-2 inches. The most common litter used for kittens are the non-clumping clay and sand. After adding the litter, it’s now time to introduce the kitten to its litter box gently.

Get Kitty to Business

When introducing your kitten to the litter box, place him/her in the litter box. Then gently scratch the litter using fingers, this is to get the cat interested in the litter box.

When should the kittens use the litter box?

Kittens need to go shortly after waking up, after eating and after exercises.  That’s why they should have a regularly feeding schedule so as to develop a similar litter box program until it’s fully trained. Twenty minutes after a meal is an appropriate time to take your kitten or cat to the litter box when preparing it to go.

Reward with Favorite Treats

If your kitten successfully does its business in the litter box, reward him/her immediately with treats and let it know how pleased you are with its behavior i.e. using rewards is the best way to train pets.

It is Okay to Make Mistakes

If mistakes occur, take the cat and set it up in the box; it will later learn this is the right place to do it and don’t scold or punish your cat for using the wrong area. Clean the accident immediately to get rid of the smell, because cats think the place to pee or poop is the place she smells their waste “urine.” Half of half vinegar and water solution does the trick.

Keeping It Clean

Clean the litter box regularly; generally, cats don’t like dirty things or places, and if you let the litter box accumulate with feces and urine, it will be dirty with bad smell meaning your kitten will find another location to do its business.

Remove all liquid and solid waste by scooping them out once daily and stir the litter to keep the surface dry. Remember when the cats still training leave some urine or small feces behind, the scent will help remind it what the litter box is for.

Training is only possible if you are patient when starting out. Clean the litter box well, place it in an appropriate area and don’t scold or punish for mistakenly doing its business elsewhere, it will not learn from that. Remember contrary to belief kittens don’t learn litter box training from their parents, but still, they can be more convinced if they see their mother use the litter box.

Litter Training Older, Stray, and Feral Cats

The two have been put under the same category because if a cat is an adult, stray or feral cat and they have been pooping or urinating outside the house and also are very shy around people while doing so, then their character are the same.

When training this type of cats in comparison to kitten training most of the difference comes in the equipment’s used and a little change in procedure, but the treatment of the cats should be the same.

What’s needed?

Because untrained Older, Stray and Feral Cats in using litter boxes do their business outside, they are more comfortable and familiarized with the natural environment outside. So choosing what’s needed is important.

  • Higher size litter box
  • Cat litter with an addition of soil and leaves to bring up same conditions as the once from the outside environment.
  • Treats
  • Litter scoop or litter box liners
  • Soap
  • White vinegar and water solution
  • Paper bags to capture the waste


  • Same as for kittens, place the litter box at a private, quiet, readily available, but because the adult, stray and feral cats tend to be naturally shy. It’s better if you confine them to one room and show him/her where the litter box is located.
  • It’s a good strategy to keep the cat from going outside to urinate or poop. You can also snuggle with your cat to convince it to stay inside the house during cold seasons or feed it indoors and keep them inside for an increased period. Until your cat is reliably trained it should not have free run of your home, this is to avoid it doing its business anywhere in the house especially when its left are alone for a long time.
  • After placing the litter box in a private place fill it with litter, soil and small amounts of leaves 3-4 inches in height; this helps convince the cats that the litter is like its usual natural habitat and it doesn’t have to go outside.
  • It’s the stage of introduction where the cat in made aware of the litter tray and is gently placed in it. Some stirring, scratching, and digging of the soiled litter are involved in getting the cat interested. Older and stray cats are different from kittens they will at first show little interest and might even walk away to another room; however, you shouldn’t worry because they have become familiar and curious of the litter box and when you are not there they will come back to explore.

When Should The Kittens Use The Litter Box?

It should be 20 – 25 minutes after a meal, and after exercise.  If the input is on a constant schedule so is the output. After the introduction, encourage your cat to hop the litter box and praise him/her when the cat has done so.

  • When the cat has pooped or urinated, give it a reward and praise it for a good job. Remember it’s important to build a safe, positive association with your cat during training which is by avoiding punishing him/her after making a mistake or scalding it.
  • Same as for kitten’s cleanness is important, so keep the litter kit clean and remember that for the cats training, leave some urine or small feces behind, the scent will help remind it what the litter box is for.

As time goes by reducing the leaves and sand in the litter box is ok because the cat would have gotten used to using the litter box. Senior cats may have trouble climbing stairs so provide one litter boxes per level.

What to Do and What Not to Do When Litter Training Your Cat

Here are some basics but important information while litter box training your cat either kitten, stray, feral or older cat.

  1. Change the litter once every two weeks and remember that you are not to alter the type of litter box until the cut has gotten used to the box.
  2. Be patient and allow your cat to jump in and out the litter box, so let the cat explore at his pace. Retraining is forbidden because the cats create a negative association with you which makes training even harder so let him/her freely use the box.
  3. Provide one lighter box per cat and don’t set them side by side, avoid noisy places when putting the litter box e.g. garage and remember to never set your cat’s water bowl or food near their litter box.
  4. For kittens start the training as early as when the kittens are 3-5 weeks old. Training for kittens usually ranges from 5 to 30 days depending on how old the kitten is and if it’s a fast learner.
  5. If you bought your cat at breeders you should ask for some of your kittens or cats poop, urine and soiled litter, it’s an excellent shortcut in making cats fill comfortable in new litter box environment.
  6. Although disposable litter boxes are considered better, I prefer plastic ones because they are easy to clean and durable for a long time. The best plastic material should be durable, thick and comfortable to hold up over time; it should also be ample enough for the cat to be able to move around when in it.
  7. Make sure you clean the litter box by scooping away poop, solids, and clumps at least once a day.


Cats are clean animals. They may refuse to use a litter box if it’s not well maintained and cleaned. If your cat can’t seem to use the litter box or you notice any issue when it’s using the litter box notify a vet.

Remember most cats like unscented litter, and when changing the litter, you can transition from an old to a new type of litter for ten days slowly.

Should I Train Potty Train My Cat?

Although it sounds impressive training your cat to use the toilet, some experts think it’s a bad idea.  The division of this ideology comes because some people believe that bathroom use by cats comes with a lot of disadvantages and that cats will have behavioral changes when using toilets instead of litter kits because it’s not a natural thing in animals.

For me I support potty training it will reduce bad smell and help eradicate cleaning after the cat; however, just for safety reasons always look at if your cat’s behavior and character, when you see negative changes, they might be brought by the cat use or the toilet. But still, give it time before returning it to its normal litter box i.e. mostly happens in when training senior cats because they are already confined to their typical characteristics.

Potty Training or Toilet Training for Cats

Don’t think that all the litter box training has gone to waste when training your cat to use the toilet. It’s very hard to train a cat to use the toilet if it wasn’t initially trained to use the litter box.

Potty training usually depends on the cat’s personality and is better for social cats that try a bit harder to impress its owner when praised a little after success. Here are steps for potty training your cat:

Steps to take:

  • Change the litter box position gradually nearer to the toilet until it riches the bathroom.
  • When the cat is sure of the litter tray location, elevate the litter box at a 5cm distance daily till it reaches the same height as for the toilet bowl. Remember to keep the toilet lid open for the cat to get used to it; lid open but sit down.
  • Wait until the cat masters each step before moving forward, remember each step might take one to two weeks.
  • The next process is to put the litter box on the open toilet “some products are made for this function because the pieces to be cut off are well measures for training and are easy to remove” Keep the litter box there until the cat seems to have accepted the arraignments.
  • First, start by reducing the cat litter size in the training kit, then after one week of your cat using the training potty cut the first hole.
  • Then cut the second hole after a week. Here you will notice that the cat will still paw at the seat as if it where the litter.
  • Cut the third hole after one week of cutting the second hole of the cat’s toilet seat. At this stage, the cat might hesitate a bit in using the potty toilet seat.
  • Continue making the hole bigger and putting litter in the remaining part until week six when it will be the last removable portion remaining on the potty training seat. At this stage, your cat will be ready to use the toilet on its own.

Note That:

For some people, it’s not a smooth sealing experience, so they even improvise and use baby seats to help get the cat used to the situation

The important things to note about this is that it works differently for various cats, you need to be a patient trainer, you need to monitor the cat’s progress and last but not list transition strategy is crucial “meaning when enlarging the holes.”

Other things to take note off:

  • Ensure that you keep the other doors of the house, plus any exit or entry closed to see how the cat is adapting to the training and also remove other things like rugs and carpets in the bathroom to make sure the cat doesn’t use them as the toilet. Some people leave the door slightly open and then put a bell to alert them when the cat gets in the bathroom.
  • You have to deal with the setbacks, don’t be hard on the cat or punish for slow learning; with patient eventually he/she will learn how to use the toilet. Make sure you make the bathroom comfortable for the cat.
  • Some products consist of trays that are used for training and can fit inside the toilet. When buying these products ensure that they are built strong enough to support the cat’s weight.
  • Training cats this way has an 80% success rate

Benefits of Potty Training Cats over Using Litter Boxes to Pee or Poop

Here are the advantages:

  1. It’s cost effective, it minuses cat litter buying expenses and litter boxes
  2. No more regular cleaning of litter and litter boxes
  3. No odor from cat’s feces and urine in litter boxes
  4. Avoidance of contracting cut infectious diseases or parasites from its waste e.g. toxoplasmosis or tapeworm

Reasons, Why Some Experts Don’t Think Cats Using Toilets Is Safe.

These are the disadvantages and ideologies of some cat experts.

  1. Some say it’s unnatural for cats to use the toilet and want them to be their usual wild natural self.
  2. Even if a cat is trained when it gets older jumping on the toilet seat will be hard.
  3. You might not notice any health issues “infections and ill health” in your cat that usually show on cats wastes “urine and feces.”
  4. Poop and urine in cats are territorial signifiers so to see that they don’t have it in the house it makes them fill like they don’t belong in the house because they don’t have a symbol of territorial security.
  5. Toilet sits are slippery and will be uncomfortable for cats to use. It also might lead to accidents which might traumatize the cat.


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