How to Potty Train Your Cat on the Toilet - Cat Toilet Training Tutorial

by tribute_to_erasmus

Ditch the litter box forever. If I can potty train my kitty to use the toilet with the aid of the CitiKitty, so can you!

Based on my experience using CitiKitty, this cat toilet training tutorial provides detailed, step-by-step instructions (with photos and a video) that will guide you to successfully train your cat to potty in the toilet. Read on for tried and tested advice that will be sure to change the way you think about your cat and the loo. Hope you enjoy it and I look forward to hearing about your own cat training attempts, challenges and successes in the comment section below!

Why toilet train your cat? The answer is simple: cats could easily be the most perfect pet on the planet; they're smart, they're independent, they self-clean. Their one major draw-back stems from the mess that often accompanies the relief of their most basic needs in a filthy litter box, which in all fairness, is no fault of their own. Believe me, there is nothing that a cat, and I, hate more than a soiled litter box, and keeping it clean is a full-time job that you can never quit.  Like most people, I had seen Robert de Niro's clever kitty Mr. Jinx use the toilet in "Meet the Fockers," but until I could actually see a regular cat do it with my own eyes, I just could not believe it was possible. That was until my fiancé showed me a nifty video of a fully toilet-trained cat on Youtube (see my cat Albus' video at the bottom of the page). At that very moment, I was determined to say goodbye to stinky, messy, expensive and unhealthy litter forever. And I did. In the article below, I have broken down the steps so that you can learn how to toilet train a cat like a pro as well.

Other have done it before

Aston Lau's "A Toilet Trained Cat" was an invaluable resource, read up on his and others' techniques!
The Toilet Trained Cat

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How to Toilet-Train Your Cat: 21 Days to a Litter-Free Home

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Understanding your cat's learning patterns

Take it slow

As Wizzley writer Sara Krentz points out when discussing the differences between cats and dogs, it is important to know your pet, its character and its general motivations. Therefore, before diving into the potty training instructions, you will need to understand why the steps below will work, and understand what might have gone wrong when they don't. 

Cats, as you may know, are creatures of habit; they hate it when you rearrange your bedroom, or  -- god forbid -- you move out of your home and into a new one. Rapid changes make them anxious and unhappy. Many a cat-owner has found an unpleasant surprise at the bottom of a shoe, on a pillow case, or on the side of the little box any time your kitty may be upset. Given that cats express so much of their displeasure with strategically deposited, near-impossible to remove bowel-movements (try this, it's quite good), it is no surprise then that by toilet training your cat, you are likely to cause your feline friend some bowel-releasing anxiety if done wrong.  Rightly so, when it comes to a change as drastic and intimate as their restroom habits, you can understand that your kitty might seem a little reluctant to jump on board overnight.

Knowing what to do is not difficult, but it might not always seem intuitive at first. Here is a quick list of dos and don'ts before we delve into the practical details.

  • Do move from one step to the next slowly. Give your cat a chance to get used to the new situation and feel comfortable with it.
  • Do always encourage your cat and show them your appreciation with lots of love, caresses, hugs and treats.
  • Do try to be with them and guide them, gently, when they seem unsure.
  • Do be patient with them at all times.
  • Do always give them bathroom priority. They may not always be able to hold it in as long as we can.
  • Do always keep the bathroom door open, the seat down and the lid up.
  • Do watch and listen for their signals; they may be telling you they need to use the facilities (if you're already in them), or that the toilet needs flushing, or that they're having a tummy ache.

And here's a list of thing you must never do while training your cat unless you want to sabotage your progress. Doing the things below will not only be counter-productive, as they do not take the science of cat behaviour into account, but they will only serve to damage your relationship with your feline friend.

  • Don't move on to the next step too fast; make sure your cat has perfectly mastered each step for at least a week or two before advancing.
  • Don't be overconfident (again, don't move too fast); things should advance at your cat's pace, not your own.
  • Don't get upset at your cat for misunderstanding or having an accident -- these are often signs of anxiety and that you are moving too fast.
  • Don't ever use negative reinforcement (beating, yelling, isolating, starving) when your cat shows resistance or makes a mistake. Remember, this is a sensitive topic for them, it can be embarrassing, and sometimes they make mistakes. This is normal. Negative reinforcement will only strengthen their negative association with the toilet and with you and their progress will not only stall, it will often vanish.
  • Don't get frustrated if things are moving slowly; how quickly you make progress depends entirely on your cat. Be patient.
  • Don't forget to flush the toilet frequently! You may wish to invest in an automatic toilet flusher if you cat is ready for it.
  • Don't forget to have fun with the experience and remember why it is you're doing this in the first place: To have a cleaner home, to save money, to be gentle on the environment, and to care for your cat's overall heath (clumping dust can get into their lungs and kidneys, making them sick in the long term). Besides, cats hate litter too; by the end, they will be thanking you. Trust me.

What you will need

A few basic supplies

Albus White Cat Toilet Train



A cat. I suppose it goes without saying.

 

Meet Albus, my 3 year-old, domestic, male toilet-trained cat. I actually successfully trained my two cats simultaneous, so just be mindful that the techniques in the next section can be applied to multiple cats (just go EXTRA slow). 




Flushable litter. This is important as a lot of the litter will be falling into the toilet bowl and you want to avoid destroying your plumbing because you chose clumping litter.

 

CitiKitty kitA cat toilet training system. I used the CitiKitty system (sometimes also seem as City Kitty, or Citi Kitty and Citty Kitty), and it did the job. Note that this tutorial is based on my experience with the CitiKitty, but that this can be applied to most other commercial systems such as the Litter Kwitter, it's bigger and most successful competitor..

 

  

Optional: Electrical Tape and cat treats!

 

You can purchase any of these (except for my cat) directly from the links below.

Do what I did and succeed like me

Oil Dri #1934 14LB Jug Cat Litter

- 14 lb. - Anti-scent formula - Clumps - Can be safely flushed - Bottle

$9.37  $7.99

View on Amazon

CitiKitty Cat Toilet Training Kit

The CitiKitty Cat Toilet Training Kit toilet trains cats of all age, size and breed so you never have to clean kitty litter again. This complete kit includes the CitiKitty Speci...

Only $29.99

View on Amazon

GE 50958 Electrical Tape

GE 50958 Electrical Tape

$4.99  $2.48

View on Amazon

Bellyrubs Organic 1-1/4-Ounce All Natural Cat Treats, Bonita Tuna Flakes

100-Percent pure bonita tuna flakes bonita is a schooling fish of the tuna and mackerel family. Packed with true fishy aroma and flavor; your cat is sure to love this 100-percen...

Only $9.99

View on Amazon

Potty Training Step by Step

Guided instructions


Albus Toilet Trained Cat City Kitty Step 1



Step 1: Unless you have already done so, move your cat's litter box (full of litter) into the bathroom, next to the toilet bowl. Make sure your cat sees you doing this and knows where his or her litter box has gone. 

 

 

 

 

Albus Toilet Trained Cat City Kitty Step 2


Step 2: Once your cat has grown accustomed to the litter box' new location, move the litter box on top of the toilet. You may wish to use electrical tape to fasten the box onto the bowl so that it doesn't fall off when your cat leaps into it. Electrical tape does not leave residue and the same piece of tape can be reused several times without wearing out. Note: if you have a very young cat, or a cat with limited mobility, you may want to provide him or her with a stool to make climbing on easier. If you have two bathrooms, reserve one for the cats. If not, work around them and make sure the litter box moves back onto the toilet bowl after you've used it. 

 

 

City Kitty full tray Step 3

Replace the litter box with the CitiKitty tray. Make sure to fill the CityKitty to the brim with flushable litter. Place your cat onto the CityKitty and let them play in the litter for a while. If they seem uncertain throughout the day, gently guide them back to the CityKitty and encourage them to do their business in it. If they are reluctant, you may wish to gently take their paw and stroke the litter with it. You may wish to put some catnip in the Citi Kitty or even some of their old soiled litter to help them associate this new device with their old litter box. Be encouraging and patient. When they succeed, reward them with praise and treats. Make sure to keep the CityKitty clean! Do not let the soiled litter stay there very long as it will discourage them from using it.

 

Albus Toilet Trained Cat CitiKitty Step 3.5


Step 4: As the days go by and your cat gets accustomed to the Citty Kitty, progressively diminish the amount of litter that is in the toilet training kit (CityKitty) until it has only a thin (half inch) layer of litter covering its surface.

 

Step 5: So far so good? Once your cat is comfortable with this new stage, cut out the smallest hole in the centre of the CitiKitty tray. Make sure you still have a thin layer of flushable litter in the tray. Help your cat do its business despite the hole. Your cat may or may not notice the difference at first, but the trickling sound of their urine, as it hits the water, may confuse them in the beginning. Again, be encouraging and shower them with praise both when they success and when they have a little trouble -- they are looking to you for guidance, so make sure it is positive.

 

Step 6: It usually gets trickier around this stage, as you must now cut out another ring out of the training tray.  Again, take it at your cat's pace and move on to this step only once your cat is comfortable and confident. If you cat resists or has accidents (Albus spent a couple of days pooping in the tub in protest), move back a few steps. You can easily do this as the Citi Kitty comes with a backup tray.

 

Step 7: Moving on to the next ring, you will notice that the hole in the tray is a lot larger. Your cat may try to poke its heads in to examine or drink the fresh water. Gently guide them outside of the bowl, and help position them, if necessary, on the toilet rim to indicate that they must continue using the toilet to do their business despite the wider hole. Again, be patient. The hole is also now big enough that they may be startled by the splashing of their feces as it hits the water. This is a new and unusual experience for them and so they may take some time to adjust. Be patient and take it slow. The more you praise them and the more you reward them, the easier this process will be. 

 

Albus Toilet Trained Cat CitiKitty Step 8





Step 8: Cut out the last ring. You will find that there is still a little permanent rim that remains on the tray, but in essence, it's almost like it is non-existent for all intents and purposes. By this stage, you and your cat are nearly done.

 

 



Step 9: Finally, remove the tray altogether. Voilà!

Albus Toilet Trained Cat Step 9

 

You can you accomplish this too! Try the CityKitty today.

 

Note that you can see Albus in action in the youtube video posted below. Please comment and share your experiences and or questions and I will my best to answer!

 

 

Watch Albus using the toilet all by himself

Successfully Potty Trained

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Updated: 06/01/2012, tribute_to_erasmus
 
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Beth on 10/07/2016

What if you are disabled and use one of the risers that sit on top the toilet, will the citikitty fit with it???

Ava on 01/30/2016

This sounds really cool but I can't help but wonder about the flushing aspect of this. Can you teach the cat to flush the toilet? Otherwise you'd have fermenting cat feces in your toilet.

Mia T on 12/17/2014

These directions and pictures are very helpful. I've wanted to try this but felt intimidated by the process. This breaks it down so it seems managable.

I hate to be "that guy," but my pet peeve as a psychologist is when behavior modification terminology is used incorrectly. No judgement on you at all, but this mistake is almost never corrected so it continues to be used by many incorrectly. Positive and negative do not relate to the "goodness" or "badness" of the reinforcer, but instead to the addition or subtraction of one. So yelling at the cat is actually adding yelling, thus it is a positive reinforcer. Not an issue here, but reinforcement is the term used to increase/create a behavior, and punishment is used to reduce/eliminate a behavior (does not infer something bad). So yelling at the cat for pooping in the bathtub (an undesired behavior) would be positive punishment.

You have convinced me to try! I will definitely share for my other friends with cats. :)

Rachel on 10/14/2014

Barbara, I live in an apartment with 1 toilet, too. Personally, I'm using the LitterKwitter tool. I just lift the whole thing off the toilet and put it back on when I'm done. My kitty doesn't seem to mind when I do this and it's super easy to accomplish. In conclusion, my apartment has 1 bathroom, but the 3 of us (My cat, my fiance and myself) have no issues sharing the toilet. hope this was helpful and good luck!!

Dawn on 09/06/2014

After many years without cats, we have two female kittens. I love them, but I'll admit I wasn't looking forward to the whole litter box experience once again. Thank you for sharing--I am going to try this! The video of your cat Albus is adorable! (He seemed to urinate for a long time. I'm sure his toilet use saves you a lot of work by not having to clean his litter! :-) )

Barbara on 05/24/2014

I have a question, my apartment only has one toilet. I would love to train my cat to use the toilet instead of a litter box, however if I decide to do this I would need to use the same toilet that I am training my cat to use. Does anyone have any experience with this issue?

PeggyHazelwood on 05/20/2013

That's pretty amazing! I like your step by step instructions. I wondered how this worked!

PavloBadovskyy on 11/07/2012

Finally I found how to teach a cat! We live in a house so in my yard we do not need to train the cat. But my friends do have a big problem in their apartment.

Winterfate on 07/25/2012

This is pretty cool! While I am decidedly a dog person, it's fascinating that you can teach a cat to use the toilet. Hmm, I wonder if it would be possible to teach a dog to do the same?

I like the detail you have put into this article. It is truly deserving of having a top score on this site!

Liked and tweeted!

ChrisHugh on 07/07/2012

Wow, your cat is awesome! My Mr Kitten used to use the people potty. But when I adopted Twitch, I had to put out a litterbox and Mr Kitten was like, if he can use it, I can use it.


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