How Often Kittens Use the Litter Box

There are certain times of the day that will trigger how often your kitten uses the litter box:

An average kitten uses the litterbox about 5 to 8 times a day, a bit more when young and a 12-week old kitten will do a bit less.

This is because kittens poop about 4 times per day when 8-weeks old, and only 2 to 3 times per day when 12-weeks old.

Plus, they urinate about four times per day.

How often a kitten uses the litterbox is determined by how often they urinate and poop.

The range of whether a kitten poops 1 to 6 times per day also depends on their care and general health.

Cats poop and urinate less than kittens.

An 8-week old kitten will eat about four meals which they poop after each one, but a 12-week old kitten will probably poop after meals about twice per day. Other things will also make them need the litterbox such as:

  • The urge to go to the toilet on waking after the night
  • Mealtimes
  • Waking from a nap
  • After a hectic time playing or chasing
  • Before bedding down for the long night

These are key times that a kitten might feel the urge to go to the toilet. But like many young creatures, having fun is – well – fun.

Its possible that a kitten may not poop for 24 hours, but they should have urinated by then. If they don’t poop after 48 hours, they need to see a veterinarian.

Kittens under a month old need to be stimulated by their mother’s tongue to defecate; you can simulate that using by gently rubbing those areas in a circular motion.


How to make sure your kitten uses the litterbox as often as they should

Kittens often leave it too late to make their way to the litter box.

So to help your new kitten learn, try placing them onto the litter box so that they become used to making use of the box at key times.

At no time should you smack or punish your kitten for a mistake! They are young, and it takes time to learn new habits.

Punishment only confuses them and makes them fearful of you.

Use positive encouragement, and when they get it right, reward them, so they know that what they just did pleases you. The treat will become a great incentive for your food-obsessed kitten. 


Your Kitten Needs the Litter Box When Waking Up

The night is a long time for a small kitten. Make sure that they have access to the litter box should they wake up in need during the night.

After waking in the morning, they need to get used to visiting the litter box before they wander off and get involved in a game.

Nature is amazing, it adjusts your kitten’s bodily responses to suit the time of day or the activity.

  • A hectic day can easily wear a young kitten out, and they will slip into a deep sleep at night.  Their bodily functions slow down considerably, which makes it easier for a kitten to make it through the night without needing a toilet break.
  • But once daylight arrives, your kitten kicks into hyper gear. They need food, they need cuddles, they need that toy … and they need the toilet.

Gently pick them up and place them on the litter box so that they get the hint. It is toilet time.

Consistently doing this will make them aware of what you are trying to teach them.

If your kitten gets used to doing the same habits, they will soon become toilet trained and use the litter box almost unconsciously.


Meal Times Stimulate their Bodily Functions

Kittens only have small stomachs, but they adore food and will try to stuff as much into it as possible!

They need more meals per day than an adult cat. A meal eaten means that something has to go out to make room for the new food.

  • This is where putting your kitten onto the litter box either before or after a meal will get them into a routine of emptying their bladder or bowels around mealtimes.
  • A meal will make your kitten feel contented,they often are more relaxed and inclined to sit still and cuddle afterward.
  • This is nature ensuring that your kitten’s body has time to make readjustments internally, and nature is getting ready to take out the waste.
  • A kitten will defecate more often than a larger cat as they only have a small system. As they run around and burn off energy, their bodies are processing food and liquids within their system.
  • And that means they need more food, which in turn means more toileting.

A small kitten responds to a routine better than leaving it up to nature to urge them to perform, as they can underestimate how necessary it is to go to the litterbox when they first get nature’s warning signals.


After A Nap is An Ideal Time

Kittens play hard, but they also nap hard too. Newborn kittens sleep for about 90% of their time, whereas an older kitten can nap up to 18 hours a day! Therefore, sleeping is an important part of their life.

When they wake up from a nap, that is the ideal time to put them onto the litter box, so it becomes a habit to visit the litter box after napping.

While they are relaxed and before they get sidetracked by play or food, they can focus more on the process of elimination.

If you have an older cat in the family, the kitten will mimic what the older cat does.

I am not sure that your older cat will appreciate a kitten staring at them intensely while they are in the litter box, or joining them in the box for that matter. But an older cat will be a big influence on your little tiger.

Forming good habits is important for your kitten. It will take time, but with patience and persistence, they will get there.


After Activity Is a Good Time to Visit the Litter Box Again

Your kitten’s exercise and games play a significant role in digesting food. Kittens seem to have a ton of energy and love to practice their pouncing skills!

Imagine this.

It’s nice and quiet in the home, the sun is shining and all is well.

You go into the bedroom to retrieve your book that you are looking forward to reading, and suddenly your kitten explodes from under your bed, wraps itself around your bare feet biting and kicking, and then races off again to who knows where!

Nerves in tatters, you slink back out forgetting your book, because who can concentrate on reading now?

Believe it or not, this ‘game’ is a great stimulant for your kitten’s growth and development, albeit at your own healths expense.

It develops coordination, dexterity, and it’s fun for your kitten! It also ensures that the bodily functions are triggered, so keep that litter box handy for your little attack bandit.


Put Your Sleepy Kitty on the Box Before Bed.

As the day winds down, your kitten will run out of energy. Before they get too comfy on your lap, put them gently onto the litter box to encourage elimination before sleep.

Making this a habit will help them to sleep through the night without waking to pee or poop.

Teach them to go to the toilet before settling into your lap to enjoy some cuddles and attention.

That vibrant purring will slowly ease as they fall asleep, and you can transfer them to their bed without having to wake them up. The last thing you want late at night is an active kitten on your hands!!


How To Make the Litter Box Appealing to Your Kitten.

  • A litterbox that appeals to a kitten needs to have a soft, sandy litter as the texture is important to kittens – the litter needs to feel soft on their paws.
  • Even your small kitten has an excellent sense of smell, so anything highly scented may put them off the litter box.
  • Don’t cover the litter box as it may make your kitten feel ‘trapped,’ without a way to escape. Having an escape route is vital to any kitten or cat.
  • For kittens, have the litter level at about three inches. Too much will get kicked over the edge, and too little will result in urine pooling in the box, and a major offensive smell will send your kitten elsewhere. Remember – kittens and cats are very fastidious and clean by nature.
  • This brings us to the next point; a clean litter box is vital when teaching a kitten to use it. Regularly scoop out the poop, clean the litter box, dump the stinky litter, wash the box thoroughly but not with powerful detergent as the smell will remain and deter your kitty.
  • Use a box that suits your kitten. A box that is 1 ½ times the length of your kitten from nose tip to the base of the tail is perfect. You can even make your box to suit your kitten.
  • Don’t rely on one box; have an extra box elsewhere in the house for your kitten, just in case they need it in a hurry and are too far from the original box.

The litter box is all about location location location! Like prime real estate, it’s all about the features such as a quiet room (not next to the washing machine as it thumps and bangs during a wash cycle). Make sure it has an easy exit, the box is nice and clean, the location has a bit of privacy, and that the box is just the right size.


Your Patience Will Be Well Worth It!

For a young kitten, life is exciting, and there are so many things to see and do. The basics, such as toilet training to a kitten are much like it is for a human child; they would rather be doing other things!

They don’t yet have total control over their body functions, so be prepared for mistakes as they continue playing when they feel the urge, thinking that they will ‘do it’ later.

Patience and persistence are required to teach your kitten the basics of life. Having one or two clean litter boxes in quiet, calm areas will help.

Kittens are like hoovers – they vacuum up any food they can find and burn it off in play. You can use this natural characteristic to teach them to self regulate for a reward on the litter box as they will do almost anything for a tasty treat or a loving cuddle.

Kittens vary in how often they feel the call of nature; a lot depends on their nature. Active kittens who eat a lot will have more toilet stops than a calm kittie who only eats what they need.

And each kitten learns at a different rate as each is a unique character. But given time and understanding, they will all eventually master this essential task.


Writer: Jean Brewer

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