Has anyone toilet trained their cat?

I just brought a new roommate home from the animal shelter, and this is my first cat. I have seen a few websites that discuss toilet training cats as well as some products for this purpose.

Have any of you tried/had success? Let me know any of your stories

Our cats have always come from animal refuges: however we get an animal about a year or two old which has been toilet trained already. If you picked out a kitten that is a different kettle of fish. However cats are clean animals and shouldn’t take a lot of training- ensure it knows where to go for a litter tray.

Litter training is one thing (pretty easy).

Toilet training comes next:

  1. have a litter-trained cat.
  2. Move the litterbox into the bathroom. Wait for comfort level.
  3. Get round plastic pan that fits over toilet bowl and under seat. Fill 1/2 way with litter. Show cat. (It may not hurt to move some litter from the litterbox there, to get a little of the right smell in it.)
  4. Remove old litterbox.
  5. Train humans not to put toilet lid down.
  6. Wait for comfort level, meaning cat has used it for a week or two with no accidents.
  7. Reduce litter in pan. Clean/change as required. Wait a few more days.
  8. Cut bottom out of pan.
  9. Or, omit step 6. Remove pan.
  10. Pray.
  11. Cat continues to get up on toilet seat & pee/poo in toilet. Success!
  12. Take photo of cat using it.
  13. Scan photo and post on Web (in our case, we have not got to step 13).

MaryEFoo’s sequence is pretty much exactly what I followed, except we cut the time down considerably. I think it was a total of about a week and a half from start to finish. We used a plastic mixing bowl at step 3, and then after a couple of days cut a hole in the bottom of it, and then enlarged it a little bit every day.

If your cat is too old and set in his ways though, it probably won’t work. Ours got as far as us moving the box to the toilet seat, but when we took it away he couldn’t figure how to sit on the seat comfortably so took to crapping on the bathmat instead. It was back to the litterbox for us!

(we were using plastic wrap under the seat instead of a bowl though, that might’ve been part of the problem. Not sturdy enough footing!)

We tried this at first, too, and it didn’t work, but not for the same reason. Our cat decided that the plastic wrap looked like something fun to test his claws on, and he kept tearing it up. But I imagine that the sturdy footing thing would also be a problem. Ours would always step down into the bowl before finding his balance on the seat.

Maryfoo and FlyingDragonFan did you have someone home with the cat while you were doing your training? My little guy is just starting to be left alone at home outside the confines of the bathroom, where his kitty litter sits next to the toilet.

He’s got a bit of a cold, so I want to get him better, and I will be gone for a few days for thanksgiving (but have friends lined up to play with him and administer meds)


There was someone home most of the time they were being trained. I worked, but my roommate was in school, so she was in and out during the day. I wouldn’t worry about that too much, though. As long as he knows where the litter is during training, you shouldn’t have any problems if there isn’t someone there all the time.
I notice you said “little guy,” and I wanted to check something: Is this a kitten? Make sure that he’s big enough to get up on the toilet before you put the litter up there, or you’ll have problems.

He is 6 months old, and I believe he’ll be able to jump up on the seat. He can jump up on the kitchen counters (bad kitty!) which are obviously quite taller.

I’m hoping that training will begin in December

I’ve tried twice, and come out with the same problem both times. FTR I tried with two different male cats.

I didn’t even have to move the litter to the bathroom, I put it in a big mixing bowl and put it under the seat. They both got this part fine. Took a bit to show them how to put their feet, but after a few times they got it.

Then slowly started to take away the litter. Again fine, you just have to clean it out a lot more.

I even got to where there was little to no litter in the bowl and this worked.

However, the part that got me was putting water in the bowl, or taking the bowl out entirely. Both cats saw the water and wanted to drink it and refused to go. I even went so far as to back up a step and they would use the toilet again.

I could not get either one to go with water under them, I think it was because they wanted to drink it and for no other reason, they had no problems with standing on the seat or anything. One cat drank out of the toilet before I started, the other didn’t, but now does. Hopefully your training will go better, but if you get to the last stage and they start having problems this might be why.

I’ve heard that it’s more difficult to toilet train an intact male. Edward, were your cats fixed?
My cats have never shown any interest in drinking from the toilet. One of them does like to watch it be flushed, though.

Does the round bowl that you put the kitty litter in float on top of the water in the toilet bowl?

Does the cat actually go down into this bowl at first and then realizes to stay on the seat?

I think I might need a little bit of help understanding this.

I won’t presume to answer for MaryEFoo, but we used the bowl method too. What we used was a cheap plastic mixing bowl with a rim about half an inch wide. The bowl just fit down through the seat, and the rim kept it from falling through. The first few times the cat got up there, he’d step down into the bowl, obviously confused. We had to physically pose the cat on the seat so he’d get the proper stance. After a couple of days he got the hang of it just fine.

Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator

Aha, the lid down and then the bowl. I don’t know why I was thinking the bowl and then the lid down over it. I will need to take measurements, and try this out for December. In the meantime, I’ll be leaving for thanksgiving on a Tuesday night, coming back Sat afternoon. I’ll prop his litter box up a few inches, to get that part started. (Again, I have friends and neighbors that will play and give medication)

I don’t quite get the proper stance, as it is hard to see with the dark cat, but I’ve got some time to learn that.

I think I understand the stance, now, after looking again more closely

No, FlyingDragonFan, both of my cats were fixed. But all of the cats I have ever had like to drink dirty water. I give them plenty of fresh water and they never drink that, but they will drink out of the sink, the toilet, the bathtub etc.

Very comprehensive.
You know, I think I’m going to try this. Thank you. (Especially if it works!)

I absolutely recommend toilet training your cats. No smell, no cleaning up, no stepping on pieces of litter with your bare feet. It’s great!

rubes, we were both working, and the slowness of the method didn’t require us to ‘hover’ during the process.

I wouldn’t start any changes just before a disruption of routine like leaving for a few days. If something has been working for a few days, it’s probably OK to leave it at that status till you get back.

You definitely want whatever bowl you use to be stable, so as not to undermine the cat’s confidence. Our cheap stiff plastic bowl worked fine, over the rim but under the seat. I didn’t think of using it over the seat, but if it can’t be nudged loose that would be fine.

Wedged in firmly would be good, floating on the water I would not recommend.

We didn’t try water in the pan, I vaguely think that might encourage drinking from it. Of our two cats, the one with better character refused the last step (peeing directly into the normal toilet), and our suspicion was that she was against polluting good water (she used the bathtub instead). We gave her back a litter box, which only she used–the other continued to use the toilet.

Both our cats were female. The fixed one was the one who continued using the toilet, but per above we didn’t think of that as a factor.

PS, cats seem to prefer water from above floor level. Try putting their water bowl on top of something.