Stress-Free Toilet Training For Cats Weeks 14-19

Stress-Free Toilet Training For Cats Weeks 14-19

Litter training cats is a no-brainer. Cats are hard wired to dig and bury their waste, so you’re not required to do much beyond giving them a box full of litter. Toilet training your cat isn’t quite as easy. Especially when you’re toilet training multiple cats at a time.

We finished Weeks 11-13 strong. After I reverted back to their original feeding schedule and swapped the flared side glass bowl to the glass bowl with the straight sides, all was again right in our little world. For a while.

The last several weeks have been such a rollercoaster with successes and failures, that it’s all just blurred together. Because of that, I’m just going to talk about them all in this post instead of taking them in two week increments. 

The Toilet Trained Cat

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Revisited bowl with flared sides.

At the beginning of week 14, I decided since we’d done so well the past 3 weeks with the glass bowl, we’d revisit the one with the flared sides.  Although it isn’t a whole lot larger than the one we had been using, it flared at the top limiting their litter space just a little more than the previous one. And, after all, isn’t that the point of all this? In order to potty train your cat, you must eliminate the litter.

The first day went very well. They must have remembered the bowl because they weren’t making as big a fuss about it this time. In fact, they didn’t balk at all. After thoroughly cleaning their mock toilet, I replaced the other glass bowl with this one and added their flushable cat litter.

There’s just enough space for them to dig, and even for Jasmine to stand with her hind paws while she pees, though it’s a tight fit. (This was the hardest habit for her to break, as she still wasn’t positioning herself with all fours on the seat at this point!)

Over the weekend we did our monthly Petsmart run and I bought them all new beds. Apparently Atticus thought that his would make a great place to poo, and that’s what we woke up to 4 days into the new bowl. And then day 6 and day 10! 

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The Littles in their new beds.

 I have no idea what triggered this poofest, but after the third time I decided to remove his bed and let him sleep with Lily in hers. He hasn’t made an accident since. 

Well, in his bed anyway.

Learning to Toilet Train Your Cat

Going through the trials and errors of the last 19+ weeks, I’ve realized over and over again that this just isn’t an easy or quick process. You have to be flexible and very consistent with their schedules. I truly believe I made my biggest mistake changing their feeding routine several weeks ago. 

I’ve also discovered, once the apple cart has been upset, it’s very difficult to set it right again.

We have been experiencing the occasional accident, with no apparent reason, for the past several weeks. Most of these accidents have been courtesy of Atticus. Luckily, they have just been poo’s, as I absolutely will NOT deal with a cat urinating in my home. For me, that’s a deal breaker! I would absolutely stop this process and go back to a litter box if that occurred!

But, so far, that hasn’t been an issue at all.

The Ups and Downs of Trying To Toilet Train Your Cat

So, after removing their beds during the day, we went about 3 weeks without an accident. Then, while sitting at my dressing table in our bedroom applying my makeup, I smelled it. Someone had gone poo somewhere in my bedroom. Following the stench, I quickly realized Atticus had gone poo on Jake’s (our dog) bed. Apparently he decided if he couldn’t poo on his, he’d poo on Jake’s. 

I have to tell you, I was livid! With myself and with Atticus! Especially when I took his little butt downstairs to their bathroom and found his mock toilet was clean and unused! But I was mostly upset with myself because he did tell me he was stressed, I just didn’t pay attention.

While I was applying my makeup, all three Littles were running around playing in my bedroom. I heard Atticus in the master bath crying several times but it just didn’t register that it was his distress cry until after the accident. I was preoccupied thinking about my upcoming appointment and I just wasn’t paying attention to what they were doing.

(I have been playing around with video lately for some upcoming projects, and this clip was used just to get a feel for the features in the movie editor I’m using. Katy (from MovingThroughLife.com, who has been a wonderfully patient teacher and mentor) and I sat on the phone together laughing about how in-depth I was getting with the lead-ins. I thought I’d share it with you all here, just for fun.)   

 Honestly, I haven’t been able to find one clear or apparent reason for any of his accidents, though he is clearly telling me he’s unhappy about his potty situation.

After that, we went another full week without any accidents. Then, as I was getting ready for a day trip (that never happened. Thanks, rain!), I caught wind of a very stong poo odor. Upstairs. Where there isn’t a mock toilet. Yeah, no bueno.

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Atticus in his favorite hiding spot. He loves hanging grocery bags!

Again, following my nose, I was led to our library. This time he thought an empty basket I had sitting on a bottom shelf looked like a great new place to poo! I have to admit, at this point I was ready to throw in the towel. I was done! I was ready to admit defeat and gladly give them back their litter boxes! But David convinced me I had spent too much time and effort to give up.

I had to keep going.

So, that’s what I did. And after  finally going longer than a week with no accidents, I decided to advance in our training. But instead of adding a whole new bowl and risk another upset, I decided to just keep the same bowl and place it in the center of the sitz bath rather than up against the front wall as it had been. Doing this really pushed Jasmine out of the litter and forced her to stand all fours on the toilet seat. 

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Jasmine with 3 paws up.

At first she had a little trouble with her aim but, after helping her out a time or two, she had it down like a champ! And NO ONE balked about the new bowl placement! Not even Atticus!

Since we continued on accident free for another full week, I decided to go ahead and change out that bowl for the last bowl in their training before we advance to just the sitz bath with no litter.  I was very, very nervous how this would go over and I was shocked that they didn’t even notice the difference! They continued on, accident free, for about 3 weeks.

Then, it happened. Jasmine and Atticus pooped on the bathroom floor. This time I believe I know why. 

I have always fed our cats Blue Buffalo dry and canned cat food. Because Jasmine had been showing some digestive issues, my vet recommended we switch to Blue Buffalo’s “Basics” line. The kittens are nearly a year old now and he thought it would be a good time to switch them to adult food. And, so, that’s what we did. And that’s what I believe caused the accident from Jasmine.

When I caught them, their mock toilet had poo in it and, being the finicky feline that Jasmine is, I just don’t believe she could hold it and pottied on the floor. Atticus, on the other hand, has no excuse. I think with him it was simply a case of “monkey see, monkey do” do. But, I quickly cleaned up the mess and we have now been accident free again for a full week. 

Final Thoughts

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Final bowl with litter before we go all water.

At this point, we’re about 2 full weeks over the original schedule and we’re still on that last bowl before going litter free.  But I’m in no hurry to progress. With all of the accidents lately, I’m just going to take it slowly from here on out. The biggest changes in their training are these last two steps, going litter free and transitioning to the real toilet, and I want to make sure they are completely comfortable before advancing. Accidents are detrimental to this process and we’ve already had our fair share. 

I have to admit, I allowed myself to be fooled by the first 13 weeks in their training. Things were going so smoothly and accident-free for so much of this process that I became comfortable, and even complacent. And when that happened, things quickly fell apart. 

Now I need to take it slowly and try to undo the bad habits of the last 5 weeks. I will do that by going back to basics. I have been locking us away again after each feeding and hard play, ensuring they use their mock toilet rather than seek out an inappropriate potty spot, and I will not progress to the last stages until I am absolutely sure they are again relaxed and stress-free Littles.

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My sweet Jasmine.

**Quick Update** Just as I had finished writing this post I heard Jasmine calling from the bathroom. This is her way of telling me she needs to potty and her trainer needs cleaned. As I rushed to clean their water bowl, Jasmine scratched at the closed lid on their trainer and, realizing she couldn’t get to it, she walked over to the real toilet, squatted, and pooped in the toilet!! 

We suspected someone had done this earlier in the week, but I didn’t witness it so I thought maybe I’d forgotten to flush. But actually watching Jasmine potty in the real toilet today, I’m inclined to believe someone had used it earlier! I’m also inclined to believe her accident last week on the bathroom floor was an accident.

The reason I believe this is because Jasmine has NEVER had an accident. She has held her poo for a couple of days, but she’s never had an accident. I’m thinking now that she probably tried using the real toilet, and still being new to positioning all fours on the seat, got turned around and had her butt facing out rather than toward the water below. I’ve seen her do this on her mock toilet before, so it seems plausable. 

But, either way, this absolutely gives me the incentive to continue on! Yay, Jazzy girl! 

Monday-Mingle-Post

 

Welcome to my Monday Mingle! Please join in the fun by linking up, and don’t forget to leave a comment below!

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Comments

27 Responses to “Stress-Free Toilet Training For Cats Weeks 14-19”

  1. May 12, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Thanks for the invite and thanks for hosting. Have a great week.

    • Melissa
      May 13, 2013 at 9:09 am

      You’re welcome, and I hope you’ll join us for Wordless Wednesday, too!

      Have a great week!

  2. May 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Thanks for Monday Mingle!! Wow potty training looks like is going well. I enjoyed the clicked training too!!
    I tweeted and shared to Facebook!
    Have a great week and stop by Weekend Social too, Karren

    • Melissa
      May 13, 2013 at 9:11 am

      Thanks for spreading the word, Karren. Your support is so very appreciated.

      I considered click training, but I decided to try this method first. It has been a long process, but I think we’re finally getting to the end of the road.

      Have a great week!

  3. May 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    It’s a nice perk to have a toilet trained pet.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

    • Melissa
      May 13, 2013 at 9:12 am

      Yes, I think it will be. I’m looking forward to no more poo duty. lol

      Have a great week and thank for stopping by, Joyce.

  4. May 12, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks a lot for hosting Melissa! Have a great week.

    • Melissa
      May 13, 2013 at 9:13 am

      You’re welcome, Judy. And I’m so glad you joined us.

      Have a great week and I hope to see you back for Wordless Wednesday!

  5. May 12, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Thank you for the invite! I am linked up :). f you like, stop by my Blog Party and feel free to invite others who are also linked up there too :).

    http://thewonderingbrain.blogspot.com/2013/05/my-favorite-posts-show-off-weekend-blog_10.html

    Jessica

    • Melissa
      May 13, 2013 at 9:15 am

      Thank you, Jessica! I linked up and followed all of you.

      Have a great day and I hope you’ll be back for Wordless Wednesday!

  6. May 12, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks for hosting!! Check out our Mother’s Day Linky Party @ http://www.thankyouhoneyblog.com!

    • Melissa
      May 13, 2013 at 9:08 am

      Thanks for the invitation, Sarah.

      Have a great week!

  7. May 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Thanks for hosting. Have a great week! http://georgielee.blogspot.com

    • Melissa
      May 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Georgie Lee, and I hope to see you again for WW!

  8. May 13, 2013 at 1:03 am

    Good to see that the kitty toilet training is progressing well.

    • Melissa
      May 13, 2013 at 9:04 am

      Thanks, Dominique. It’s been a long and trying endeavor, but I can finally see the end of the tunnel.

      Have a great week and thanks for stopping by.

  9. May 13, 2013 at 9:27 am

    Wow! You are doing great:)) Didn’t even know it was possible with animals:)) I wonder if I could train my schnauzers???

    • Melissa
      May 13, 2013 at 9:58 am

      Thanks, Talya. It’s been a lot of work, but I think it’s finally paying off.

      Have a great day and I hope to see you back for WW and Foodie Friday!

  10. May 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I still can’t believe how far you’ve come with toilet training the littles. I know it’s been hard work, but I told you not to give up! And, Jasmine proved me right! Give her kisses for that. :P

    • Melissa
      May 13, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      The first couple months were a breeze, but the last several weeks have more than made up for it! lol

      Thanks for giving me that much needed push to keep going. ;)

  11. May 16, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Haha that video of him is so funny the way he is sitting! We just adopted a kitten a few days ago and we are also trying to toilet train him. I’ve never had a toilet trained cat before but your post is very encouraging! We got the CitiKitty cat toilet training kit and it’s only been a few days but so far he’s adjusting very well! He hasn’t had any accidents yet so I’m very hopeful!

    • Melissa
      May 16, 2013 at 2:45 pm

      I know! I used to laugh all the time when they first started doing it. 5 months later, it’s all old hat. lol

      We tried a similar system called Litter Kwitter, but didn’t have great results with it. I hope you’ll let me know how your kitty’s training goes with the Citikitty system.

  12. Naomi
    September 14, 2013 at 4:08 am

    I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my three new cats. They are too young to come home now but should be here in about a month. I know, three at once, I am crazy but my best kitty friend past away earlier this year and since I have been reading a lot about cats. They say that they like to have a buddy, so I settled on two… that is until I fell in love with THREE! So I too will be toilet training three little ones. I am excited but a little worried. Any how, I was wondering, when you have all three littles in the bathroom and one uses the water container to go number 1 (pee), do you just dump and rinse it? And do you dump and flush after every potty? AKA pee then treat and flush the urine then rinse the bowl and re-fill and wait for the next kitty? Also when you rinse (if you rinse) the bowl do you use dawn every time ( i am assuming not?).
    Thanks so much, I really enjoyed reading about your journey so far. It seems like you are very dedicated and in my eyes still doing very well! After all, you have endured two litter quitting systems!

    • Melissa
      September 18, 2013 at 1:16 pm

      Hi Naomi!

      Congratulations on your 3 new babies! How exciting!

      When I had all 3 in the bathroom, as long as they were just peeing, I’d wouldn’t rise the bowl after each use. I’d just wait until they had all peed before washing the bowl. And,yes, I always cleaned the bowl with Dawn each time it needed emptied.

      If they were pooping, I’d try to dump the poo, rinse and add fresh water between them, if they would allow. Typically, though, when one would poo it would prompt the others and they would have to go back-to-back. As long as they don’t mind pooing in dirty water, don’t interrupt them with a bowl cleaning.

      Just keep a close eye on your Littles and they’ll tell you if they prefer a clean bowl or of they really don’t care.

      Good luck and if you have any more questions feel free to comment here or send me an email.

      • Naomi
        October 2, 2013 at 12:51 am

        Hi Melissa,
        Hooray I am so happy you wrote me back! Also thank you for the advice, I love you blog it is wonderful, especially all the parts about your littles :). I will be sure to write you if I have any more questions, I really appreciate the offer of allowing me to reach out to you. It is very very sweet of you! I hope all is well with the little ones, I am about to check if you have a potty training update! lol!
        Best,
        Naomi

        • Melissa
          October 2, 2013 at 11:44 am

          Hi Naomi,

          Thank you so much for the compliment, I’m thrilled you like my little blog!

          I haven’t posted any updates about the Littles because there hasn’t been any progress. Since we’ve had house guests for the last 3 months, we haven’t been able to dedicate the downstairs bathroom to just the Littles, as we had during their training.

          I’m hoping we can begin again November 1st, when our friends are no longer here.

          And, please, feel free to contact me if you have any questions about toilet training. While I’m not an expert on the subject, I do know what worked, and what didn’t, for us.

          Melissa

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