Catster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

How to Train Your Kitten to Use the Litter Box: 7 Vet-Approved Tips

Written by: Elizabeth Gray

Last Updated on May 8, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


How to Train Your Kitten to Use the Litter Box: 7 Vet-Approved Tips


Dr. Ashley Darby Photo


Dr. Ashley Darby

Veterinarian, BVSc

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Bringing home a new kitten can be exciting, but it’s not without challenges. Litter box training is one of the first and most important processes to introduce to your kitten. But how do you accomplish this mission as easily as possible and minimize the mess?

In this article, we’ll discuss six easy tips on how to train your cat to use the litter box. We’ll also provide guidance on what to do if your kitten is struggling to learn where to poop or if they suddenly start having accidents again.


divider 3 paws

Before You Begin

Before you bring your kitten home, you should have their litter box set up and ready to go. Litter box training should begin when your kitten first enters your home. For successful training, you’ll need the following items:

  • Appropriate-sized litter box
  • Litter
  • Litter scoop
  • Treats


divider 2 cats

The 7 Tips to Train Your Kitten to Use the Litter Box

1. Choose the Right Litter Box

Set your kitten up for success by selecting the correct litter box as they begin training. Litter boxes should be about 1 ½ times larger than the cat using them.

Start with an uncovered litter box for training. You don’t want your kitten to avoid the litter box because they’re worried about being trapped.

brown cat getting out of the cat litter box
Image Credit: Axel Bueckert, Shutterstock

2. Select the Right Litter

With so many litter materials available, shopping for the best choice can be overwhelming. Kittens can develop litter preferences, and you may need to change the litter if they dislike it. You can ask the breeder or shelter which litter your kitten is used to.

Generally, most cats prefer unscented litter with fine particles rather than large particles. Clumping litter is usually the easiest to scoop and best for odor control. It’s best to fill the box with 2 to 3 inches of litter.

3. Pick the Right Litter Box Location

When they’re getting used to a new home, some kittens take a while to become comfortable. You can keep them from anxiously avoiding the litter box by placing it in a quiet location.

A laundry room is a common location for a litter box, but the machines can scare young cats and prevent them from using the litter box appropriately. It’s also best to keep the litter box away from the kitten’s bed or food bowls.

British Shorthair kitten in litter box at home
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

4. Show Your Kitten the Litter Box

As soon as you bring your kitten home, show them where the litter boxes are. Place your kitten in the litter box and let them sniff and scratch around. Continue bringing the kitten to the box after they eat or wake up from naps, as they are likely to need to use it during those times.

5. Reward Your Kitten When They Use the Box

When your kitten uses the litter box successfully, reward them immediately with a tasty treat. Positive reinforcement only works when you can do it immediately because otherwise they don’t know what they are being rewarded for. Continue to reward your kitten until they’re using the box consistently.

Image Credit: FotoMirta, Shutterstock

6. Keep the Litter Box Clean

Cats and kittens are fastidiously clean and do not enjoy using a dirty litter box. Scoop the litter once or twice a day, and give the litter box a thorough cleaning every week or so. Keeping the box clean will prevent any litter box aversions.

7. Supervise Your Kitten

While training your kitten to use the litter box, it’s best not to allow them unsupervised access to your house. Consider confining them to a single room, like a kitten-proof bathroom, while you’re gone.

When you are home, keep a close eye on the kitten. If you spot them circling, sniffing, or pawing at the ground, take them to the litter box quickly. Your kitten may take time to learn which spots are appropriate and inappropriate for peeing.

two kittens playing together outdoors
Image Credit: CebotariN_Shutterstock


divider 1 paws

My Kitten Keeps Having Accidents. What Do I Do?

If your kitten struggles with litter box training, never yell, hit, or otherwise punish them. If they make a mess on your carpet, you can use an enzyme-based product that breaks down and fully eliminates the odor.

Next, reevaluate the first three steps of the litter training process outlined in this article. You may need to change litter box locations, litter, or even the box itself. If you’re letting your kitten roam unsupervised, restrict them to smaller spaces until they use the litter box more often.

If other cats are in the house, ensure they aren’t bullying the kitten away from the litter box. You should have enough litter boxes in the house for each cat to have their own, plus one extra.

Finally, have your kitten checked by your vet to ensure they don’t have intestinal problems or a urinary tract infection.


divider 3 paws


Because cats have an instinct to bury their poop and pee, most kittens pick up litter training quickly. However, following our tips can make the process go smoothly. Remember, inappropriate eliminations are one of the most common signs of medical and behavioral issues in cats.

If your kitten suddenly starts having accidents after being litter trained, it could indicate something is wrong. Therefore, it’s vital to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Get Catster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Catster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.