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Can Chinchillas Be Potty Trained?

Can chinchillas be potty trained

We’ve discussed potty training rabbits and guinea pigs, but what about chinchillas? Can chinchillas be potty trained? 

Chinchillas can certainly be potty trained. They’re very clean just like our rabbit and guinea pig friends and they want to go potty in the same spot. For the most part, it's urine that they’re potty trained for. Which is great because that's where the smell and moisture come from! 

We’ve got some good ideas for finding potty training success, and then we'll talk a bit about what litter to use for your chin. Keep in mind as we talk that chinchillas less than six months old are still gaining control of their bladder and learning chinchilla life.

While potty training is a good idea to start while they’re young, don’t be discouraged if your chin seems to be a bit disorganized. It will come together eventually. 

Why Can Chinchillas Be Potty Trained?

Wild chinchillas have thick fur coats that need to be clean and dry in order for them to stay warm in the cold mountains! They use dust to absorb oils and keep the oil on their skin evenly distributed. 

Don’t get your chinchilla wet! Read about dust baths here

Chinchillas don’t want to hangout where it’s wet. For this reason, they will try to pee in the same spot, or the same few spots! Or at least not in their house.

Let Them Choose Where The Litter Box Goes

As you can see, you and your chinchilla are playing on the same team with the same goal! Now all you need to do is narrow down exactly where to put the litter box.

can chinchillas be potty trained

It would be nice if we could sit in front of a whiteboard and discuss with our chins. Alas, we cannot. So you’ll have to be a detective and determine where they’re already going so you can choose their favorite spot for the litter box. 

If this isn’t as easy as it sounds, don’t worry. Let’s break this down into steps for you. 

Step 1: Don’t Clean Your Chinchilla’s Cage For A Week

Wow, right after talking about how clean chinchillas are and that we’re on the same team you’re encouraging a dirty cage. 

Stay with me. 

A chinchilla doesn’t know where they peed if you keep cleaning it up. So, during the beginning stages of wondering, can chinchillas be potty trained, it’s okay to cut back a bit on cleaning.

Step 2: Put Litter In Their Favorite Spots

After a week or two, you’ll likely see they have a few spots they return to. The idea is to put bedding in these spots but then slowly make those spots less. 

For example, if there are three spots your chin likes to go, put bedding in those three spots so they are familiar with going where the bedding/litter is. Then the next week, only put bedding in two of the spots. 

Chinchillas want to potty where their urine will be absorbed. Again, they want to protect their coat just like you do!

Step 3: Add A Litter Box/Pan And Keep The Bedding The Same

Next, you add a box for the litter. This needs to be big enough for them to turn around in. When you change the bedding in the box, you may even want to leave a little soiled bedding on top while your chin is learning. 

Don’t change the type of litter/bedding that you're using for the first few months. This confuses them and they may not want to use the litter box. 

Once you both have a few successful months under your belt, you can try new bedding if you’d like to. 

What’s The Best Litter To Use For Chinchillas? 

Chinchillas have sensitive respiratory systems so it’s very important you aren’t using bedding with chemicals, or a lot of dust. They’re up close and personal with their bedding!

chinchilla bedding

Aspen Shavings are a good choice as well as Paper Pellet Bedding, though Aspen Shavings will be softer on their feet. 

What To Look For When Choosing Bedding:

  • low dust

  • no artificial fragrances

  • sludge-free (sludge is a byproduct of paper production and has dioxin in it which is toxic)

  • natural material without chemicals

  • absorbent

Never use cat litter for chinchilla bedding. Cat litter clumps together when wet and if ingested, can cause a serious blockage. 

It’s A Team Effort

Can chinchillas be potty trained? - it’s a team effort. Consistency is what gets you and your chin on the same page. 

Be patient as your chinchilla learns their new space. They also have to learn what you are going to do!

For example, they don’t know that you are going to give them fresh bedding or take away old bedding. It’s all a part of the routine that you will develop with your furry family. 

can chinchillas be potty trained?

Proper bedding is the first step to proper hygiene in a chinchilla enclosure. When your chinchilla is potty trained, it makes cleaning up the messes much easier. As mentioned, it’s very important that chinchillas stay dry. When moisture gets trapped under their skin, it takes a long time to dry out! And can often lead to skin issues. 

Dry skin comes from a dry environment! Potty training is one great tool in the toolbox for keeping a chinchilla’s enclosure clean and dry. 

Sometimes babies are potty trained by the time they’re weaned because they copied their mom! So if it seems like your chin is already potty trained, don’t forget to send a thank you note.


Chinchilla research is continuously growing! If you have any doubts or concerns contact your exotic vet.

We are not veterinarians, and none of our information should be construed as veterinary advice.

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