Ferret Pooping Next to the Litter Box

Ferret resting on a pillow

One of the most exciting facts about ferrets is their intelligence. It makes them highly trainable and hence more fun. Well, it is not always an easy task to make your ferret use the litter box. Some ferrets can be quite stubborn and might start pooping right next to the litter box.

In this article, we are going to discuss some of the most common reasons why your ferret might be refusing to use the litter box. Note that ferrets are quite different from dogs and cats in terms of litter training.

Poor or improper litter training is often the reason why ferrets refuse to use their litter boxes. However, you can always start litter training afresh. Without further delay, I am going to list down some of the reasons making your ferret fail to use his litter box.

Common reasons why a ferret fails to use a litter box

Even if your ferret is fully litter trained, he could refuse to use the litter box for various reasons. These might include the following:

Wrong litter pan placement

Ferrets love pooping in the corners of their cages. Now, if you place the litter box on the side, your ferret could continue using the corner. The position of the litter box should be safe and secure. Your ferret needs to enjoy his privacy when eliminating.

Well, if you have the litter box in the wrong position, I suggest that you adjust its positioning.

The type of litter box

While the position of the litter box matters, the type of litter pan you got for your ferret counts. Well, I insist on buying a ferret specific litter box. These are made in such a way that your ferret can enter and exit easily.

A ferret’s litter box should have a lower side for easy entrance. This is because your ferret has short limbs. Therefore, he cannot climb over higher sides without tipping over the litter box.

You didn’t clean up accidents well

This is likely to happen when you are in the litter training process. Your ferret could have an accident next to the litter box. If you do not clean and deodorize the surface, there is a chance that your ferret could start pooping there habitually.

Using the wrong type of litter

There is a reason I keep insisting that you should purchase a ferret-specific type of litter. Using a scented or clay-based type of litter could possibly discourage your ferret. This is especially because ferrets are prone to developing respiratory issues.

If you do not have the ferret litter, you can also use old newspaper cuttings as litter for your ferret. Make sure the type of litter you choose is dust-free.


If your ferret’s cage has shelves or basically dark corners, your ferret will prefer pooping there, even if the litter box is right next. Well, we cannot blame these pets but we can certainly litter train them and eliminate poop accidents.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the common reasons why your ferret poops outside the litter box is improper litter training. Well, brace yourself as I am going to take you through the process of litter training a ferret:

Complete guide on litter training a ferret

Well, we have already outlined five of the most common reasons for a ferret pooping next to the litter box. Now, we will focus on how to eliminate this problem completely. Below are the steps you should take to properly litter train your ferret;

The litter box must be safe and easy to use

In order for your ferret to start learning any tricks, he must feel safe and secure. Litter training is no different. Therefore, it should all start with how comfortable your ferret is in his cage. Now, when installing the litter box, you should make it easy to use.

Most people will use home-made litter boxes. However, you consider that your ferret has short limbs. This means that it can be pretty tiring to climb into the litter box. You should make it as smooth to use as possible.

Now, to get rid of this problem, you need to go shopping. You will need to get a ferret-specific kind of litter box. It should have a lower entry side, as I have indicated above. Well, the easier it is to use the cozy it feels for your ferret.

Pick the right size of the litter box

Well, do not buy a ferret litter box that is too small for him to fit in. Your ferret should be able to fit in and do his business comfortably. I always advise new ferret owners to again shop the litter box specific for ferrets from the pet stores. If you cannot find one, you can always purchase online for some well-structured ferret litter box.

Begin training immediately

Ferret litter training should start immediately you bring him home. While younger ferrets are easier to train, you can begin litter training at any age. You must remember to include the litter box when setting up his cage.

Now, when he eliminates, it is a great way to learn about your ferret’s place of preference in terms of eliminating. Well, he is going to probably choose a different place to poop than the litter box. When he does, you should scoop some of his waste and put it in his litter box.

This is meant to encourage your ferret to start using the litter box. When he smells his poop, he will start going to the litter box. However, this is not an automatic process.

You should clean up the accidents on the floor if any. Then you might consider changing the litter box to the one he chooses. Once he eliminates in the litter box appropriately, reward him. You can use verbal praise or simply offer him a treat to reinforce the training.

Keep your ferret confined during litter training

When litter training your furry friend, you should keep your ferret in his cage at least for most of the time. At the same time, it does not mean that you will not need to take him out of the cage. Ensure that you provide at least four hours of each day for him to play and run around the ferret-proofed area of the house.

However, keeping him in the cage will not only ease accident management but also enhance the training process.

Keep the litter box clean at all times

Well, if the ferret litter box is dirty, your ferret might refuse to use it and instead go on the floor. Well, I suggest you scoop soiled litter every day. Also, use a litter that will not clump. You should consider emptying the litter box at least weekly.

The most important thing about litter-training a ferret is to remain consistent even with the small accidents. Refrain from hitting or scolding a ferret when accidents take place during litter training.

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