If you are new to ferrets, make sure to read this before you potty train your ferret. In this article you will learn why ferrets need litter boxes (and what happens if you don’t give them any!), as well as everything you need to know about your ferret’s potty habits. PLUS We will answer all of your frequently asked questions about strange ferret potty behavior. Are you new to ferrets and feeling a bit overwhelmed? We’ve got you covered. Check out our Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Ferrets to learn everything you need to know about this amazing and often misunderstood pet. So… Do Ferrets Really Need a Litter Box? Yes! Just like cats, ferrets are capable of being trained to use a litter box. In fact, even if you do not provide a litter box, your ferret will still choose specific places throughout their cage and your home to make their toilet. You might as well set up a litter box to make cleaning up their messes much, much easier! What You Need to Know About Ferret Potty Habits: Ferrets typically go to the bathroom after they wake up from a nap. In our experience, they will usually go within 15 minutes of waking up. If your ferret is on a kibble diet, they will usually go the bathroom every 4-6 hours. Raw fed ferrets typically go the bathroom less frequently, and make smaller poops. Before you potty train your ferret, make sure you know the times of the day they are most likely to poop! Credit: Christine Demand The majority of ferrets prefer to go to the bathroom in a corner (you may have the occasional oddball who squats in the middle of the floor but that is the exception to the rule). When a ferret needs to go the bathroom, they will stop what they are doing and urgently search for their potty corner. Once they find their designated potty spot, they will flip their body around and back up into the corner. Before you potty train your ferret, make sure you have enough litter boxes. We recommend one per room. Important: In our experience, a ferret stops backing up when their tail hits a barrier -or if they step on old poop. This is why ferret litter boxes with high lips usually do not work! Ferret Potty Habits Continued Source: Ferrets for Dummies – male ferret on right Because male ferrets have a penis that is located in the middle of their belly, they usually pee in the middle of the litter area. Female ferrets pee out of the same general area that they poop, so their pee puddles will be located at the back of the litter area. This is important to keep in mind because your litter box may get dirtier faster with males because they use a larger area at a time. Ferrets do not cover their litter after they go to the bathroom like cats -so that means their pee and poop will remain exposed to the air around it. Why does this matter? Ferret poop can be very stinky! In our experience, ferrets really hate stepping in old pee and poop, so if their litter box is dirty, they will be more likely to poop *next to* their litter box rather than in it, or look for another place to go to the bathroom entirely. Do you want to potty train your ferret to keep up good potty habits? Make sure to clean their litter box frequently (once per day)! Although many of the information above comes from our personal experience, we also referenced a wonderful article by ferret.org (very different than ferret.com which we do not recommend). Before You Potty Train Your Ferret FAQ Here are the answers to the most common question we get asked about ferret litter: Can I use cat litter for my ferret? Yes and no. You can use ferret-safe cat litters like Yesterday’s News and Swheat Scoop. You should stay away from Silica based litter like Fresh Step Crystals and clay litter. Check out our detailed review on all the best ferret litters here. Why is my ferret eating its litter? There are several reasons your ferret may be eating their litter. Are they out of food? Are they stressed or bored? Is their food making them sick? Does their litter look similar to their kibble? This is not a normal behavior and it is important to get them to stop. Why is my ferret sleeping in its litter box? Credit: Caty Criss and Ilona Povilanskaite This is a very common behavior. Even though you bought a litter box for your ferret, it does not mean they automatically know what it is! Does your ferret have a quiet dark place to sleep? If not, they may be using their litter box as a substitute. Does your litter box have high walls and a high lip in the front? If your ferret has too much trouble backing up into the litter box, they may not use it as a toilet. How often should I clean my ferret’s litter box? This depends on which litter you decide to use for your ferret. If you decide to use litter, we recommend scooping poop and dirty litter 1-2 times per day, and then completely replacing all the litter once per week. You should also disinfect your litter box once per month. If you are using potty pads (like we do), you will need to change your potty pads 1-2 times per day. There will be no litter to replace once per week, although you should disinfect your litter tray once per month. What happens if you don’t clean your ferret’s litter box often enough? source: Youtube They will start to find other places to go to the bathroom in your house. Like we said before, ferrets hate to step on old pee and poop, so they will avoid it at all costs. Warning: once your ferret selects a new place to go potty, they will have a hard time forgetting it! That is why it is so important to keep up with a regular cleaning schedule. How many litter boxes do I really need? Credit: @zuzipelmeshka If you read our Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Ferrets, you know that ferrets need to spend a significant time of their day outside of the cage. We recommend placing a litter box in every room your ferrets have access to. Does this seem like a lot? It’s certainly a better alternative to finding a pile of poop under your bed because your ferret couldn’t find a nearby toilet! Conclusion Before you can train your ferret to use a litter box, it is important to understand how they behave and why. We hope this article taught you something new. Please leave a comment below with any questions we can help answer. And for the veteran ferret owners reading this, comment below some of your own tips of ferret litter training! Want to know the BEST ferret litter ever, recommended by ferret owners around the world? Check out this article.