How Do I Litter Train My Hamster? (Owner’s Guide)

Every Hamster owner wishes to litter train their Hamsters. You must have noticed by now that Hamsters urinate every few minutes. Therefore, if a Hamster is not litter trained, they will pee all over their enclosure. But can a Hamster be litter trained? How do I litter train my Hamster?

Usually, most hamsters have a particular spot in their enclosure where they urinate. Fix the litter tray to that same location, filled with some soiled bedding. Hamsters have an amazing sense of smell therefore they will follow their nose to reach the area.

Litter training any rodent is not an overnight process. You must have patience to get the best out of your Hamsters.

Also, some Hamsters misunderstand the litter tray as their bed, while others always digs at it.

In this guide, we have discussed every minute detail regarding litter training your Hamsters. Right from the correct size of the litter box to all the tips and tricks, we have got all sorted for you!

Picture Credits: Norma, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: nelsonandnorma

Can I Litter Train My Hamsters?

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Yes, Hamsters can be litter trained. Patience and love is the key to train your Hamsters.

Hamsters are smart creatures and will learn it in no time. However, you must remember that every Hamster is different and each one has their own personality and capabilty.

You must not scold your Hamsters if they are not doing well with the training procedures. Scolding will just stress them and make them more aggressive. You Hamster will not trust you anymore.

Is It Difficult To Litter Train A Hamster

No, it is not difficult to litter train your Hamster. Although litter training is a tedious procedure, it is rewarding.

You have to train your Hamster will a lot of patience and love to get the best results.

Which Is The Best Litter Tray For My Hamsters?

Before litter training your Hamsters, you must be equipped with the right tray. The litter tray itself is an essential item.

The size of the tray which you pick is another important aspect. You Hamster will probably ignore the tray if it is too small. If the tray is too big, your Hamster may use it as a bed.

The litter tray should be big enough to hold your Hamster comfortably. The minimum size of the litter tray should be 12 x 10. If you have a long-haired Hamster, this must be taken into consideration.

The height of the litter tray plays an important role. If the tray is too low, then the urine of your Hamster will dive down their leg and lead to scalding.

But there is an exception if your Hamster has any kind of mobility issue, then a litter tray with heights can be a problem.

Also, older Hamsters may face a lot of issues to reach the height of the tray to poop or pee. If this is the case with your Hamster, then select a tray with low height.

You will find that Hamster specific litter tray does not follow these requirements. In such a scenario, you can use storage crates and plastic bowls to make a suitable litter tray for your little ones.

I love this amazing Hamster litter box with a shovel. You can try this out as these works like a charm for me.

What Is The Best Litter For Hamsters?

After choosing an appropriate tray for your Hamsters the next step involves selecting the best litter for your Hamsters.

Picture Credits: Nelson, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: nelsonandnorma

Do not rush while taking this decision. Before taking your decision, you must consider the following factors:

  • Most Hamsters will try to chew and eat the litter out of curiosity.
  • Your Hamster will spend most of the time in the litter tray.
  • Hamster’s urine has an smell.

Therefore, the litter must be edible, comfortable, and have qualities of masking smells.

Paper bedding and aspen bedding are some safe products that can be used for Hamster litter.

Never use pine or cheddar shavings in your Hamster’s enclosure. These are toxic for your Hamsters and can be life-threatening for them. Also, clay bedding should be avoided as it leads to respiratory issues in Hamsters. Your little ones can fall sick if they consume any of these.

It is advised to put a layer of newspaper beneath to absorb urine. Just make sure that the paper you use is safe for Hamsters.

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Can Hamsters Use Cat Litter?

No, cat litter is not advisable for your Hamsters. It can prove to be very harmful to them.

If your Hamster swallows the litter by any chance, it could lead to blockage in the stomach. It can further lead to severe health complications.

Also, several companies use clay in their cat litter, which is toxic for Hamsters.

Hamsters have a sensitive respiratory system. Clay litters produce dust clouds, which can be harmful for your Hamster’s lungs.

Instead of going for cat litter, you can always go for special Hamster centric products.

How Much Litter Should I Put In The Tray?

It is crucial to fill a balancing amount of litter in your Hamster’s litter tray. If you over-fill the tray, then your litter ones will struggle to identify between the tray and the general area. If you fill less, then your Hamsters might feel uncomfortable.

You can begin with filling around 1 inch of litter, then see how your Hamsters react to it.

If you feel that your Hamsters are unsatisfied with their litter tray, add a little more litter, which should be around half an inch at a time.

It is also essential that you add some soiled litter or soiled hay in the beginning. The smell of the soiled litter will attract them. Hamsters always choose to stay in a familiar location.

Litter training is not an overnight process, time and patience plays an important role. You will have to execute the trial and error method. Once your Hamsters adopt the routine, maintain consistency.

How Do I Litter Train My Hamsters?

Time and patience is the most important thing you require to litter train a Hamster.

The process of litter training your Hamsters are as follows:

  • Observe your Hamster closely and try to find out where they urinate. You will notice that most of the time, your Hamsters pee in the same place.
  • Once you discover that particular area, clean it properly. Their enclosure must smell normal.
  • Hold a small piece of urine-soaked bedding back, and place it in the litter tray of your Hamsters. Hamsters have an amazing sense of smell therefore they will follow their nose to reach the area.
  • Place this tray in your Hamster’s preferred location for urination.
  • There is a possibility that your Hamsters get confused when they see the tray. They may aim to urinate somewhere else. Your Hamster will get used to the tray in a few days.
  • If your Hamsters urinate outside their tray, clean the area immediately as their urine holds a decent smell. Your Hamster will be encouraged to urinate in the same area, if you do not clean it immediately.
  • If your Hamsters continue to excrete outside, move the soiled bedding or its poop in the litter tray.
  • If your Hamster urinates in the tray, do not clean it immediately. Leave the tray as it is for 24 hours. This will teach your Hamsters that the tray is the perfect place to urinate.

It is advised to repeat the above process until your Hamster becomes habitual to the litter tray.

However, you must keep in mind that litter training is not an overnight process. If your Hamster is stubborn then litter training them may prove to be a challenging task for you.

Do not scold your Hamster when they are not doing well with the training. This may scare your Hamster. Instead, always keep in mind the golden rule for pet training. Always praise your little one when they are doing good and ignore anything undesirable.

How Long Does It Take To Litter Train A Hamster?

With intense hard work and love, Hamsters can usually be trained within 2-3 weeks. During these days, you must observe your Hamsters intently. If they still refuse to use the box, you must continue with the training.

There are always some possibilities of failure therefore you have to stay calm if your Hamsters do not learn in one go. Do not scold your Hamsters as one bad incident can lead to drawbacks. Scolding them can take you at square one.

Don’t let your Hamsters walk around easily until you know they’ve been taken to their litter box. You’re going to need the hamster to do their business well before exercise and playtime.

If you let the hamster out of their cage before eliminating them, they will quickly accept it as their routine. They’re going to think that urinating in the house is natural. Then, you’re going to have to undergo another preparation regime.

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My Hamsters Are Not Using Their Litter Box!

Even after persistent efforts, some Hamsters refuse to use their litter box.

There may be several reasons due to which your Hamster might refuse to use the litter box. Therefore before giving up, it is advised to investigate the following possibilities:

  • Is the litter box of the correct size?
  • Are your Hamsters able to reach the box?
  • Is the litter box broken?
  • Is the litter box smelly? ( the smell can be due to the cleaning products)

Hamsters always need a clear difference between their litter box and other places in general.

If the sides of the litter box are too low, then your Hamsters may get confused. They will have an idea about their destination, but will not determine where the box begins or ends.

If your Hamsters are under stress, then you may notice them marking outside the box to make themselves comfortable.

A change in Hamster’s routine or location is common. They might be re-asserting their area.

Your Hamsters may also poop outside the litter box, this is also a common behavior in Hamsters.

Hamster Using Litter Box As Bed!

Although it may seem unhygienic to you, some Hamsters have a natural behavior to sleep on their litter or in their litter boxes.

Picture Credits: Nelson, The Syrian Hamster; Instagram Handle: nelsonandnorma

If you train your Hamster well, you can get them out of this. For this, you must have a separate sleeping space for your Hamsters. It will then be easier for them to get out of their natural habit.

Usually, Hamsters sleep for around 7-8 hours in small laps, therefore providing them with a separate sleeping area will make them more comfortable.

A cardboard can be used to make a perfect bedroom for your Hamsters. Line it with soft material to keep your Hamster comfortable.

You must make sure that your Hamster does not get confused with the sleeping area and urinating on their bed.

If your little ones are comfortable in their litter box and continue to relax and sleep there, then you can leave it to them.

Always remember that your change the litter regularly to minimize the chances of urine scald.

Also, clean your Hamster’s bottom once in a while, as feces may get stuck in their fur.

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My Hamsters Keeps Digging Their Litter Box!

Some Hamsters have a natural habit of digging on anything and everything they find. If your Hamsters are also one of them, they must be enjoying doing so. In some cases, boredom and stress also alleviates this kind of behavior in Hamsters.

Although Hamsters do not have a habit of burying their waste like other animals, but a few of them dig out their poop to lay and relax in it.

If you do not have a good bond with your Hamsters or if they do not trust you, they will dig the litter out.

The digging behavior can also be the result of the dominant nature in Hamsters. The litter tray or the litter holds the smell of a human hand, this makes them insecure of their territory.

In the wild, Hamsters are very protective of their territory and they turn aggressive if anyone tries to intrude in their territory.

You can provide your Hamster with some other place to dig or sandbaths, it may help to resolve the issue.

If the outcome is not successful, then build a high sided litter tray. You can also go for a closed box, so like any litter dug in it can stay inside the box.

When Hamster’s dig, they scatter soiled dirt across their bed, which can be very risky if not taken into account.

How Often Should I Clean My Hamster’s Litter Box?

In the beginning, the cleaning regime will be more relaxed. Out of curiosity, your Hamsters will bond with their litter tray. You can make the process easy by familiarizing them with the fragrance.

Once you start with the training, the cleaning frequency will depend upon the litter you use.

It would be best if you spot clean daily, it will help to minimize the risk of urine scalding. Some Hamsters have a natural digging behavior, so you may find them cleaning the tray themselves by digging.

If you use a Hamster’s litter, you can clean it every week. It depends on the use of the litter tray by your Hamsters. If they sleep in the tray, it is advisable to clean it every 2-3 days.

Also, the urine of Hamsters emits an unmistakable scent of ammonia, that is impossible to ignore. If your Hamster is stinking, it is a sign that you must change the litter.

Also, cleaning of your Hamster’s litter box and cleaning of your Hamster’s entire enclosure is altogether a different process.

How Do I Clean My Hamster’s Litter Box?

Listed below are a few steps that will help you to clean your Hamster’s litter tray:

  • As soon as you take the tray out from their enclosure, examine it thoroughly. If you notice any cracks or signs of your Hamster chewing the tray, then it would be best to replace the tray as soon as possible.
  • You can begin the cleaning process with a jet spray. Jet sprays help to clean any stubborn letter or waste that sticks to the tray.
  • After using the jet spray, you can scrub the litter tray with some white vinegar. This will make the tray free from any kind of bacteria or germs.
  • If your Hamster has ever suffered from any kind of parasitic infection, then using bleach will help a lot. Make a solution using 1 part of water and 6 parts of bleach and scrub the tray properly.
  • Then, leave the tray soaked in water for 30-40 minutes. This will help to remove all the cleaning materials,
  • The last step is to dry the tray completely. If you can dry it in the sun, it will be more fruitful as the sunrays further has more antibacterial properties.

Cleaning a Hamster’s litter tray is a lengthy process therefore it is important to have at least two interchangeable trays for your little ones. This way you can use one tray in your Hamster’s enclosure when the other is being cleaned.

Though litter training is a tedious process, but a rewarding one. The playtime of your Hamster will turn pleasant. Also, litter training helps your home to get rid of the smell of ammonia.

Tips For Litter Training Your Hamsters!

Listed below are some of the tips and tricks that will make litter training sessions with your Hamsters easier:

  • Firstly, you must know that litter training your Hamster is not an easy process. It is a long process that will a lot of patience.
  • Sometimes, Hamsters do not use their litter box due to stress. You must try to find the cause if the case is the same with your Hamsters.
  • If your Hamster uses the litter box as a bed, then create a separate bedroom for them as they prefer to sleep for approx 7-8 hours.
  • Adding some soiled bedding to the litter box will help your Hamsters to get used to the spot.
  • You should never scold your Hamsters if they are not doing well, as this can scare them. After this, it will be more difficult for you to train them.
  • The best thing you can on your part is to train your Hamsters by investing time and patience.
  • Lastly, I would like to suggest you to build a bond with your Hamsters. This will help them to trust you even more during the training sessions.

Sources: Research Gate, Science MagNCBIScience Direct, Pneumonia infected Hamsters Research Gate,  Biology and Diseases of HamstersDehydration In HamstersHyperadrenocorticism in Three Teddy Bear Hamsters

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Mohini

Hello, I am Mohini, the founder of this blog. I am currently studying Animal Nutrition. I have a pet hamster. I am here to help everyone understand their pets better.

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