Skip to main content

Now is the time to potty train your hamster — here’s how

Can you potty-train a hamster? As it turns out, you can, and it’s not a complicated process. Hamsters are generally clean animals, and many hamsters prefer to designate an area of their cage as a bathroom and stick to the same spot. In this case, all you need to do is teach them to use their new litter box in place of the floor of their cage. However, some hamsters are less finicky about where they do their business, and they’ll need a bit more training.

Potty training your hamster keeps his waste concentrated in one area, cuts down on the ammonia smell, and makes cleaning his cage much easier. If you’ve ever wondered how to potty-train a hamster, you’re in the right place. We’ll walk you through the equipment you’ll need and share some of our favorite tips for potty training your hamster. 

Related Videos
A brown hamster chewing a treat.
Ellie Burgin from Pexels

What you’ll need

Good news: You won’t need much in the way of equipment to potty-train your hamster, and nothing you need is that expensive:

  • A container that fits in your hamster’s cage: Pet supply shops and online stores sell a variety of suitable products. There are triangular containers that will work perfectly if your hamster prefers doing his business in the corner. If not, a square or rectangular container will do the job. 
  • Litter: Options include wood pellets, paper pellets, sand, or a mixture of two forms. We recommend sand because it clumps when wet, making it easier to scoop out and dispose of when cleaning your hamster’s litter box. However, wood and paper pellets provide more odor control, making them ideal if you prefer not to scoop the litter box daily. Note: Because hamsters have delicate respiratory tracts, you should use only dust-free, unscented products. If you have trouble finding suitable litter for hamsters, you can use fragrance-free, dust-free cat litter but avoid brands with silica.
Skitterphoto from Pexels

Potty training your hamster

If you’re working with a new furry friend in a brand-new cage, you might want to wait awhile to see where your hamster prefers relieving himself. Once you’ve discovered your hamster’s favorite spot, clean the cage thoroughly, setting aside some of the soiled lining from the cage, and put the new litter box in place

After filling the container with litter, add some of the soiled lining you set aside earlier. Ideally, once your hamster adjusts to the addition of a litter box in his cage, he’ll be much more inclined to use it because it still smells like his designated potty space. It may not happen overnight, but your hamster will begin to recognize his scent and equate the litter box with using the bathroom. 

What to do if your hamster is stubborn

OK, you’ve done everything right, and your hamster still potties everywhere except his litter box. What now? Relax — it’s not your fault. If you’re working with an older hamster, you’ll have a more difficult time persuading him to change his habits now than you would if you had a young hamster. One thing that might help is relocating the litter box to another corner of the cage. 

Keep an eye on your hamster’s behavior. If he uses his litter box to stash food, treats, or toys, he could be trying to tell you the cage is too small for his liking. Some hamsters will even sleep in their litter box at first. If your hamster’s cage is large enough, consider investing in a new bed for him. 

Lining your hamster’s cage with white bedding helps you spot oopsies that happen outside the litter box. Clean them as soon as possible to reduce their attractiveness to your furry friend. If you catch your hamster using the potty outside his litter box, quickly relocate him to show him where to go. With time and patience, your hamster will use his litter box as his designated potty. 

Training is a process, but with diligence, you can teach your hamster to use a litter box. As long as you scoop daily, you should change out the litter box and give it a quick wash every one to three weeks. Keep the cage fresh, make sure your hamster has room to play and sleep, and you’ll have a happy hamster and a cage that’s easy to clean. 

Editors' Recommendations

Expert tips for taking your puppy on their first walk
Is it time for puppy's first walk? Prepare with this expert advice
A brown puppy wearing a neon orange harness looks up

Bringing home a new puppy can be one of the most exciting times in a person's life, but that doesn't mean you'll have picture-perfect moments every time. In fact, helping your four-legged bundle of joy reach their milestones can be downright frustrating at times! It happens to the best of us, but we're happy to tell you that some of those milestones -- like walking your puppy for the first time -- can be reached with a shortcut or two. And that's where Lorna Winter comes in.

Winter is a veteran dog trainer and the co-founder of Zigzag, which is a puppyhood training app that you can customize to help you and your dog succeed. Since she's such an expert when it comes to all of a puppy's "firsts," we asked her for her best advice when taking a puppy on their first walk. As you might have guessed, it's a lot more complicated than simply putting on a leash and going for a stroll!

Read more
Can huskies be aggressive? It depends on the circumstances
Huskies can be hyperactive, but are they aggressive? Experts weigh in
A blue-eyed Siberian husky puppy sitting on grass

With their luxurious coats and striking blue eyes, huskies are an immediately recognizable breed. Given their size and stubborn personalities, many prospective husky parents wonder, "Are huskies aggressive?" According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard, "The characteristic temperament of the Siberian husky is friendly and gentle [...] he does not display the possessive qualities of the guard dog, nor is he overly suspicious of strangers or aggressive with other dogs."

That being said, just because the AKC breed standard claims huskies aren't an aggressive breed doesn't mean they can't become aggressive in certain circumstances. We'll go over the different types of aggression in dogs, how to deal with your pup if he becomes aggressive, and -- most importantly -- we'll walk you through the warning signs of aggression, so you can nip it in the bud before it starts.

Read more
New Year’s resolutions that can make you a better pet parent in 2023
5 ways you can become the best pet parent this year
A woman strokes a blue-eyed white dog while outside

We all kick off the new year with resolutions, but for pet lovers, the goal to be a better pet parent is a resolution worth keeping. From teaching your fur babies to get along to helping your cat kick a treat addiction, there are plenty of things we can do to improve our four-legged friends' quality of life. We'll take a deep dive into the top New Year's resolutions pet parents should make to ensure their furry companions stay happy and healthy throughout 2023.

How to set a New Year's resolution you'll keep
We all start off the new year with the best of intentions, vowing to eat healthier, get more exercise, and spend less time doomscrolling on social media. However, by the end of January, the vast majority of people have already started to backslide -- or have given up on their resolutions altogether. But when you're setting resolutions with your fur babies in mind, keeping them is more important than ever. Try:

Read more