Can you potty train a guinea pig?
Compared to other animals, like dogs and cats, who can communicate and express their feelings through sounds and activities, potty training a guinea pig seems quite an impossible task.
But with all the right effort, patience, and dedication, we can potty train our guinea pigs.
Yes, you heard it right!!!
We can potty train our guinea pigs, and the success rate is also awe-inspiring.
Definitive Guide To Potty Train A Guinea Pig
So, where do we start?
Rodents like guinea pigs aren’t expressive enough like other animals.
How do we understand their feelings and needs?
How do we understand whether it’s their potty time or not?
Well, here are 10 definitive steps to guide you through the process of successfully potty training your guinea pig.
Know About Guinea Pig
Before petting any animal, be it a guinea pig or any other animal, it’s very important to know about their habits and behavior.
If you plan to pet or already own one, you should first definitely know about your guinea pig.
Guinea pigs, unlike other domesticated pets, love privacy.
Guinea pigs tend to use the exact location to eat, bed and potty and tend to stay at the exact spot where they feel safe and comfortable as long as possible.
Guinea pigs are susceptible environmentally; so, once they find their safe location, they take quite time to adjust to new environmental changes.
Guinea pigs being prey animals are very cautious about where they poop and urinate.
So, they like to scent their territory to maintain their survival instinct.
Although guinea pigs are very playful and fun-loving animals, they are more active in the dawn and dusk periods as they are more comfortable with darkness which assures them both safety and privacy.
Cage Build Up
The task of mastering a guinea pig starts right from the cage build process.
It’s essential to provide your guinea pig with a proper cage build-up, maintaining a proper environment.
The proper environment includes the right location, cage size, style, lighting, bedding, litter tray, exercise pens, food dishes, and water bowls.
Here is a quick cage build-up tip.
The cage’s size must be roomier as guinea pigs rely more on the floor space for exercise than the vertical space.
A larger roaming space is one of the most important facilities we can provide to the guinea pig as there are many advantages for them like they can happily coexist with other guinea pigs in the same cage.
They can exercise independently without our intervention, and more importantly, they have a large space to showcase their wide range of natural behaviors and personalities.
Location is another crucial aspect we should consider very carefully while setting up the cage.
Guinea pigs love attention, so it’s better to keep them near the family space where we could easily interact with them.
However, sanitary reasons keep them away from the kitchen and young kids or infants.
Since guinea pigs are prey animals, we should avoid keeping them around other predator pets like dogs and cats, and the cage should be made predator safe if any such predator pets are adopted.
Guinea pigs are also susceptible to sound and noise, so we should consider avoiding noisy surroundings and choosing a quiet place to place the cage.
Guinea pigs can’t sweat, so they can suffer from heatstroke if their cage is exposed to direct heat.
Guinea pigs are also equally susceptible to suffering from cold, so their cage shouldn’t be kept around unheated places as well.
Therefore, the best solution is to keep them at room temperature away from large doors and windows, radiators, fireplaces, heights, and other places where there is a possibility of excess exposure to heat or cold.
The primary key to successfully potty training a guinea pig understands their potty behavior.
A guinea pig’s potty behavior depends upon many aspects, to mention a few their age, weight, eating habits, and their activeness; so, every guinea pig has its potty behavior.
Therefore, carefully observe your guinea pig’s activities in the cage and try to understand their potty behavior.
Although they are changing it sometimes, guinea pigs use the exact location as their toileting spot.
If you can know about your guinea pig’s favorite toileting spot, it makes the rest of your task a lot easier.
The Right Litter Tray
After observing your guinea pig’s potty habits, it’s time to choose a proper litter tray with an ideal shape and size as per your guinea pig’s comfort.
You can buy pre-manufactured trays in the market or build and set them up on your own.
Since guinea pigs are very environment-sensitive, it’s essential that you first make your guinea pig used to their new tray before placing it in their cage.
You can achieve that by incorporating and training to jump into the litter tray during their playtime daily and treating them with treats for their every successful attempt.
Placement of Tray
Once your guinea pig is familiar with the litter tray, you can place it in their cage at their favorite spot.
Knowing your guinea pig’s favorite spot is a confusing task on its own, but if you keep following their indication, you will surely succeed.
Slight hint: usually, the cage’s corner appears to be the area where guinea pigs love to do their toileting duty.
It’s better to cover the tray floor with newspaper to differentiate it from the cage’s fleece, which will help indicate to the guinea pig that these are two different spaces.
As mentioned above, guinea pigs seek privacy and love to do their toileting duties, usually in a darker and private space.
Therefore, try to create a darker area around their tray with comfort in mind.
You can create the darker area by adequately placing the cardboard or piece of cloth or fleece (different color) as the litter tray’s roof.
Remember, we need to make sure it won’t disturb your guinea pig’s comfort zone while doing so.
Potty Training Time
In the beginning, the guinea pig needs to stay close to their litter tray as much as possible.
The best way to achieve it is by putting some hays in and around the litter tray, which keeps your guinea pig interested around the tray.
They will use the litter tray or at least space around the litter tray to poop or urinate whenever nature calls.
You can also set up bedding in the litter tray if possible as they love to do all their tasks in one place.
When poop mishaps occur, remember sometimes they forget and encounter accidents too, so consider putting it in the tray yourself.
By doing so, they will get the hint that they should use the tray whenever nature calls.
It’s the most complex and essential step of the process, but with time and patience, the guinea pigs are smart enough to understand your hint, and soon your dedication will pay off.
Guinea Pig Loves Treat
Like any other domestic pet, a guinea pig loves a treat.
So, whenever they follow your hint and use the litter tray as their toileting space, please treat them with their favorite treats.
This will encourage them to do the same in the future and understand your hint better and faster.
When it comes to treats and foods, there are some fundamental aspects that one should consider, like the type of food, amount to feed, and time to feed for a healthier guinea pig with a better potty cycle.
Therefore, I have listed a short note on some essential food types you can integrate into the guinea pig diet.
Water is a crucial aspect of diet for any living thing.
So, it’s no surprise how important a role it plays for a guinea pig’s health, and you must provide them with a constant supply of fresh water.
While providing water consider using a proper water bottle rather than a water bowl, which avoids tipping over the guinea pig with the bowl and maintains a clean, hygienic, and dry cage for them.
Guinea pigs being herbivorous loves green grass.
You should provide them with a handful of grass but by first carefully checking it for any other dangerous plant-like mowing, buttercups, and daisies, which can prove to be very dangerous for them.
Hay is an important and natural part of a guinea pig’s diet, which we shouldn’t miss.
It also gives their stomachs some roughage for digestion.
It can be used as bedding to keep them warm in the winter as well.
Guinea pigs need vitamin C to stay healthy and fit, but they don’t produce it naturally.
You should provide them with diets rich in vitamin C like pellets, and in addition to it, another good option is to provide them with vitamin C supplements.
Leafy Greens and Fruits
You can also feed them with leafy greens and fruits such as broccoli, spinach, and parsley, which are also a great source of vitamin C and other important nutrients.
Like other foods, these are also essential parts of any guinea pig diet.
Dry food is another excellent option of a vitamin C-rich diet for your guinea pigs.
It cannot completely substitute the fresh veg and other fresh food, but it’s, however, a great treat to provide them in their daily playing and training time.
Timely Litter Clean Up
Guinea pigs shy away from dirty trays as nobody likes a messy toileting space.
The guinea pig has a small bladder which means their urination rate is higher, and they also poop a lot.
So, it’s better to regularly check up and performs a timely clean-up of the tray to avoid congestion and maintain a healthier environment for them.
Cage Clean Up
As mentioned in the above point, it’s vital to provide a clean and healthy guinea pig environment.
We should clean up their cage at least once or twice a week following proper cleaning procedures.
Good sanitary habits help to keep the guinea pig active and away from health issues.
Guinea pigs, as mentioned earlier, take time to adapt to new environmental changes.
Therefore, while cleaning up the cage, we should avoid a complete makeover of the cage and make as minimal changes as possible or no changes at all.
Huge cage makeover confuses the guinea pig with the new changes and unlearns the things you taught them, meaning you have to start it again.
Patient Is The Key
Guinea pigs are unable to express themselves to us humans and also, by their nature, love to do all the tasks i.e.
Eat, potty, and bed at one location; they will not be immediately potty trained.
It’s a long and repetitive process of try and miss before guinea pigs can understand their owner’s hint.
So, patience is the key here; avoid frustration on your guinea pig.
Although you might not be able to see the progress beforehand, treat your guinea pig with all the love, care, and dedication, and you will surely succeed in no time.
Why Is Potty Training a Guinea Pig Important?
Though they appear to be the smallest of all the animals, we pet when it comes to potty and waste, and guinea pigs are no less than other bigger pets.
Guinea pigs do potty a lot compared to other animals, which sometimes fluctuates depending on their health, exercise, age, diet, and weight.
A guinea pig’s cage can be a messy and unhealthy place to live without proper potty training.
Maintaining a cage scattered with potty and stains is quite a hard and time-consuming task.
Lack of proper sanitation leads to unhappy and unhealthy guinea pigs.
So, it’s obvious that potty training is an important task even though they are hard to achieve.
Here are three main importance of proper potty training of our guinea pig listed down below.
Clean And Healthy Environment
Well-trained guinea pigs and properly managed cages help maintain a clean and healthy environment for them to live in.
This helps prevent our guinea pigs from different respiratory and urination-related diseases like Pneumonia, Diarrhea, Scurvy, Tumors, Urinary Calculi, parasites, and Skin Infections Bumblefoot.
Since guinea pigs are rodent’s pet animals, a properly maintained cage and a well-trained guinea pig also keep the environment around our home safe from various infections and diseases that can spread from guinea pigs to humans.
Easy To Clean Cage
Since a well-potty-trained guinea pig will use the litter tray most of the time, the task of cleaning the cage is a lot easier and less time-consuming.
We also don’t need to replace the cage’s fleece so regularly; it’s also much more economical to maintain the cage.
Get To Know Your Guinea Pig Better
Besides the benefits of a clean and healthier environment for guinea pigs and economic maintenance, there is another significant benefit of proper potty training.
Throughout potty training, our guinea pigs, spend a lot of time with them and get a chance to observe their behaviors closely.
By the time we are done potty training our guinea pigs, if we can observe them very carefully, we get to know a lot more about them, like their food habits, bedding habits, playing habits, and many other psychological behaviors.
Simultaneously, these smart animals also become aware of our love and affection towards them and ultimately create a greater and stronger bond.
We have seen that the question, can you potty train a guinea pig, is definitely yes, and we have shown you some ways.
Adopting a guinea pig should be done with thorough consideration as it comes with a huge responsibility full of difficult tasks like cage maintenance, health maintenance, and risk management.
Although it’s an arduous task that seems impossible at first, we can successfully potty train our guinea pigs.
Some guinea pigs take no time and are trained quickly, while some are never successfully trained.
A well-trained guinea pig means a cleaner cage which means a healthier environment to live in, which automatically leads to a healthier, happier, and risk-free guinea pig.
Therefore, it’s worth taking your time and putting some effort and dedication into potty training your guinea pig as a well-trained guinea pig proves to be a dream reward for any pet owner.