Tips, Tricks & Training
The Litter Kwitter is designed to train your cat by small increments to use the toilet. Any litter-trained cat can be trained to use the toilet. Over a series of small changes your cat will gradually begin to use the toilet pan rather than the litter box to deposit its waste and will eventually regard the toilet as its natural place to ‘go’.
Cat do not learn in a straight line – they sometimes need to go back and re-learn something you thought they already knew how to do. This is normal and nothing to worry about. The Litter Kwitter has been designed to be completely re-usable at each stage so that your cat can learn in its own way and at its own pace. And if at any stage in the future your cat forgets its training – when you move home, for example, or when some other change in the household causes stress – then the Litter Kwitter can be brought out of retirement to help your cat brush-up on its skills.
The minimum period on the Red disc is 2 weeks.
Make sure the Litter Kwitter is stable. If your tiles are slippery & the white base plate moves around your cat may not feel safe so non slip mats can help here & can be purchased through hardware stores everywhere.
Don’t rush to put the Litter Kwitter up onto the toilet rim – make sure your cat knows that the bathroom is where they go to ‘go’, and is used to going there before you introduce the big leap.
Minimum period on the Amber disc 4 weeks.
The Amber disc is the most important stage in the training & the most challenging. Occasionally some cats may refuse to defecate on the the Amber disc, some because they do not like the water & others because they do not like the hole. We are not yet sure why some cats have this reaction & usually after questioning the trainer we find it is because they have not spent enough time on the Red disc getting used to the new look & feel the Litter Kwitter unit as their litter box.
If your cat starts toileting in the sink, shower or bath just block them off by filling a little water in the basin/bath or closing the shower door until they get the hang of it.
If your cat decides the floor is easier to toilet on try putting some aluminum foil down around the toilet or bottles filled with water. Make sure to clean up the misses with an enzymatic cleaner, like CSI Urine or similar product (available from pet stores). Enzymatic cleaners are the only products that totally eliminate urine and more importantly its odour, which attracts the cat to keep soiling a previously soiled area. If your cat does defecate on the floor, clean it up using soapy water then spray the enzymatic cleaner & leave to air dry.
Cats love to please so reward good behaviour with love, touch & perhaps a special treat.
Minimum period on the Green disc 2 weeks.
The Green stage is the final run – keep reducing the litter ever so gradually & you will get to the point where only a few grains remain. Try removing the disc and replacing it to ease your cat into the idea of toileting with no litter. Then remove and replace the white seat too to get them used to the feel of the regular toilet seat. Don’t be afraid to put the Green disc back if your cat freaks out a bit. The beauty of the Litter Kwitter is that any of the stages can be repeated until your cat is completely comfortable with the idea of using the toilet.
A stepping stool near the toilet bowl is a great idea if your cat is hesitant to use the Litter Kwitter at any stage. This gives your cat the ability to jump up and survey what’s on top of the toilet before committing to the act of getting onto the Litter Kwitter. If close enough, the cat can even use the stool to place their paws on whilst “going”, encouraging them to correctly position themselves over the hole.
Some people have found that placing random objects on the floor around the toilet has dissuaded their cats from using the floor to do their business instead of the Litter Kwitter. This works by limiting the area that the cat has to do its business.
Sandpaper or Aluminium foil also has this effect, but because the cats don’t like the texture of these materials beneath their paws.
If your cat is “holding on” to avoid using the Litter Kwitter, try mixing some chicken stock in with their water. This will encourage them to drink more, because they like the taste, and thus hasten their need to “go” This is a good tip if you are concerned that your cat’s reluctance to wee or poo may cause health problems or your cat is very stubborn!
1. Go at your cat’s pace
If the progression through the Litter Kwitter stages is not going as quickly as you would like, it might help to remember that cats are individual characters with different personalities. While some cats welcome new experiences, most dislike being rushed or pushed into something. You need to build up their trust and you can do this by slowing things down a little. Go back to the previous stage for a while. Let your progress be determined by your cat’s needs.
2. Step by step
If your cat is ‘stuck’ at one of the Litter Kwitter stages, you may need to introduce a bridge between the current disc and the next one. Your cat may benefit by gradually reducing the amount of litter available in the Litter Kwitter, for instance, before moving on to the next stage. You could also try leaving the centre of the red disc without litter (to mimic the hole of the amber stage). It may take some cats longer to be willing to defecate through the amber or green disc, although they are happy urinating. Again, go at your cat’s pace until they are ready to progress.
3. Deal with toileting issues
If your cat has started to toilet outside of the Litter Kwitter, check that your cat feels safe in your toilet or bathroom. Cats need privacy to toilet and they like to feel safe and secure when they are in the vulnerable toileting position (after all, in the wild, they may be attacked by predators).
Ensure that the toilet in which the Litter Kwitter is installed provides safety and security. You may like to try leaving the bathroom door wide open or an open window, to provide an escape route and make your cat feel more secure. If you have a multi-cat household, ensure that another cat is not lying in ambush, waiting for your cat to leave the toilet.
Cats who choose to toilet over your belongings eg. briefcase, bed, or in other inappropriate places eg on computers, stove tops or air conditioning vents (which may disperse the odour very effectively!), are often communicating that they are stressed. Putting their scent around them or over unfamiliar scents makes them feel more secure. You have to make your cat feel safe.
Remember that your cat’s inappropriate toileting habits may have nothing to do with the Litter Kwitter and all concerns should be address by your vet. If you see your cat repeatedly straining while trying to toilet you should visit your vet immediately.
4. Kitty cleanliness is important
It is important that you keep your Litter Kwitter clean, otherwise your cat may not wish to use it. Some of our human cleaning agents may not be particularly pleasant for your cat’s nose and they may dislike entering a bathroom that has scented products in use.
If your cat has toileted in areas other than the Litter Kwitter it is important that you clean up thoroughly. Wash with non-ammonia based cleaners, then use an enzymatic cleaner to remove all traces of urine or faeces, as cats are often attracted back to those spots to toilet again.
5. When one cat is perfect…
If one of your cats is progressing well on the Litter Kwitter and others are not, you have 3 options:
(i) go at the pace of your slower cat
(ii) swap stages of the Litter Kwitter according to the individual cat’s needs (you may need to follow your cats around to do this).
(iii) introduce a second litter Kwitter on a separate toilet in your home
6. Reduce stress
Use of the Litter Kwitter should not stress your cat. If your cat tends to be stressed by anything new, then you might like to keep other routines constant eg. feeding, play. Cats may be calmed by use of lavender or chamomile products in the environment. Extremely stressed cats may benefit from medication from your vet.
There are many times that people have been driven to frustration is the course of toilet training their cat(s).
This is understandable. Cats can be hard to communicate with, and as with any training process it can be a stressful time for both cat and owner.
“Accidents” along the way – not to mention outright mutiny attempts- are predictable and common, and often trainers need to let their cats know that they’ve done the wrong thing. Here are a few tips…
Never smack your cat and never ‘rub their noses in it’. This is cruel and ineffective. Not only could you cause real damage, but the cat will not know why it got smacked, it will simply regard it as an attack. Thus, you will not solve the problem, and you will possibly damage your relationship with your cat (which should be based on trust), impeding further training. Cats – just like people – learn better through encouragement and reward as opposed to criticism and punishment.
If your cat continually goes in the wrong places, try ACTIVELY IGNORING the cat until it gets the right idea. This works especially well if your cat usually gets a lot of loving care (which all cats should!). Let them see you silently clean up the mess, then walk away from them without recognising them at all. Feed them before you are asked, without the usual fuss. Spend some time cleaning the LK while they watch. There is mention in one of our user’s blogs of one cat getting so upset with this means of “punishment” that they went into the toilet and “meeooweed” loudly until Mum came in to watch them “go” correctly.
Don’t lock your cat in the toilet with the Litter Kwitter as punishment. Even if they use the LK while they’re in there, it will not be in a positive mood and they will likely re-offend as soon as released! Also, if they are afraid of the LK, this will only serve to make things worse. They will resent the device and learn to avoid the toilet room altogether. Cats need easy, safe access to and from the LK.
When your cat “does the right thing”, reward them with praise, pats, cuddles, cooing and maybe even a treat (a morsel of their favourite food, for example). This is especially important at “firsts” and after ignoring them for misbehaviour.
If your cat is struggling at the amber stage, try these tips:
The Amber Reveal technique
A simple transparent plastic sheet cut to size and “Prestik-ed” in under the opening can be an easy solution for those anxious learners who lodge a protest when the Amber disc is introduced. Sliding the Perspex along to gradually (over a few days) expose the hole & the water below can help your cat accept the change and avert their protestations.
Red Under Amber Technique
Place the Red disc under the Amber disc to give your cat a gentle introduction to the hole. You can try this with and without litter in the red disc. Wait until they’re OK with this before using the Amber disc alone. This technique can also be used with the transition from Amber to Green.
There is another trick someone has suggested to help your cat adopt the correct stance in the Red disc in preparation for the Amber disc. Place some tin foil in the central reservoir (which cats hate to stand on) with litter around the outer parts. This should encourage your cat’s paws towards the outer regions of the Red disc.
Do cats simply hate amber?
Some people think maybe if they saw a hole in the Red disc their cat might like it better than the Amber disc. But this is not the case. Cats are not color-blind, but they have restricted color perception. They can distinguish between green and blue but not between shades of red. In other words, cats probably see red and amber as the same color. The color-coding is to help you distinguish the stages better rather than to communicate anything to your cat.
If your cat is struggling at the green stage, try these tips from other users:
1. You can try going back & forth between the amber & green on a daily basis – or even one disc in the morning & one in the evening;
2. You could try putting the green disc on top of the amber disc & only putting litter in the green to see if this works as a transition between the two;
3. You can leave some water in the bath, shower & washbasin to discourage the cat from going in there (they don’t like getting their feet wet);
4. You can put tin foil on areas where they repeatedly go on the floor (they hate to tread on tin foil);
5. You can put a bowl or some other barrier in the toilet to hide the water & see if the cat will gain confidence in their balance before removing it again a few days later;
6. You can try removing the Litter Kwitter entirely. – believe it or not this has worked in several cases & the cat starts using the normal seat;
7. You can buy special tape to create a textured surface from hardware stores (like anti-slip surface for baths) which might help the cat develop more confidence.
Ultimately, the psychology is straightforward (notice we didn’t say simple!!!) – your cat wants to be discreet with its waste by covering the smell which makes it feel safe. If it can’t do that then it will go somewhere else that makes it feel safe.
These are places that it has
a) been before & survived, or
b) smells of people it trusts to protect it, places like your bed etc.
If there’s a problem in progressing it’s likely to be due to some anxiety around feeling safe – either from predators (other cats in the home) or from simply falling & being hurt.
We like to imagine our cats are stubborn, willfully disobedient or displaying some other human-like personality trait, but this is simply how we see the world as humans – it’s not how they see it as cats. There is something in their toileting environment that’s causing – or has caused in the past – some anxiety. It’s usually to do with the water in the bowl, balance, the sudden transition between discs or some hierarchical issues with other cats in the home. The key is finding the best way to reduce this anxiety – most cats manage it by themselves but some need a little creativity to help them!
Some people find that when they introduce the Amber disc their cat will pee in the toilet but poop on the bathroom floor. Or in the basin, or in the bath, or on the carpet. Or worst of all on the bed!
You think it was a one-off but they keep going back to the same place and doing it. But why? And more importantly how do you get them to stop?
To start, you need to find which areas are soiled before you can re-train your cat to avoid eliminating in those areas. Then you’ll have to clean those areas, and clean them well. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:
1. Find the scene of the crime
Use your nose and eyes to find the soiled areas. You might want to use a black light, which you can purchase at a home supply store. A black light (actually, it’s untraviolet) will usually show even old urine stains. Turn out all of the lights in the room; use the black light to identify soiled areas, and lightly outline the areas with chalk. Just like on CSI.
2. Remove all the evidence
Clean the area comprehensively. To be successful, you need to follow all of these steps. If you fail to completely clean the area, your re-training efforts will be useless. You need to get forensic!
As long as your cat can smell their personal scent, they’ll continue to return to the area they’ve soiled – the ‘crime scene’. Even if you can’t smell traces of urine, your cat can. Cats navigate the world with their noses and the reason their species still exists is due to their highly developed ability to detect odors you’ll have to clean those areas, and clean them well. Here are the steps you’ll need to take:
1. Make the ‘crime scene’ unattractive and/or unavailable to your cat;
2. Make the toilet/Litter Kwitter attractive as a way to retrain your cat. Then use positive reinforcement techniques to show them the appropriate place to eliminate (e.g. through the Amber hole).
To do this successfully, follow these cleaning and retraining recommendations for your cat.
To clean hard surfaces (tiles, wooden floors, vinyl floors etc):
Clean as usual with your regular hard surface cleaners (avoid ones with ammonia if possible). When the area is clean treat it with enzymatic cleaners. Make sure you follow the directions to avoid damaging any hard surfaces with inappropriate chemicals;
To clean washable items:
Machine-wash as usual, adding a one-pound box of baking soda
to your regular detergent. It’s best to air dry these items if possible. If you can still see the stain or smell the urine, machine wash the item again, and add an enzymatic cleaner (available at cat supply stores) that breaks down cat-waste odors. Be sure to follow the directions carefully.
If your cat urinates or defecates on the sheets or blankets on a bed, then cover the bed with a vinyl, flannel-backed tablecloth when you begin the re-training period. It’s machine washable, inexpensive and unattractive to your cat;
To clean carpeted areas and upholstery
» For ‘new’ stains (that are still wet): Soak up as much of the urine as possible with a combination of newspaper and paper towels. The more fresh urine you can remove before it dries, especially from carpet, the easier it will be to remove the odor. Place a thick layer of paper towels on the wet spot, and cover that with a thick layer of newspaper. If possible, put newspaper under the soiled area as well. Stand on this padding for about a minute. Remove the padding, and repeat the process until the area is barely damp;
» If possible, put the fresh, urine-soaked paper towel in the area where it belongs—the Litter Kwitter. This will help remind your cat that eliminating isn’t a ‘bad’ behavior as long as it’s done in the right place;
» Rinse the ‘crime scene’ thoroughly with clean, cool water. After rinsing, remove as much of the water as possible by blotting or by using a wet vac. Then treat the area with an enzymatic cleaner;
For stains that have already set:
Consider renting an extractor or wet vac to remove all traces of heavy stains in carpeting (get one from a local hardware store). This machine works much like a vacuum cleaner and is efficient and economical. Extracting/wet vac machines do the best job of forcing clean water through your carpet and then forcing the dirty water back out. When you use these machines or cleaners, carefully follow the instructions. Don’t use any chemicals with these machines; they work much better with plain water;
Use a high-quality enzymatic odor neutralizer once the area is really clean (available at pet supply stores). Be sure to read and follow the cleaner’s directions for use, including testing the cleaner on a small, hidden portion of fabric first to be sure it doesn’t stain; Try any good carpet stain remover if the area still looks stained after it’s completely dry from extracting and neutralizing;
Avoid using cleaning chemicals, especially those with strong odors such as ammonia or vinegar. From your cat’s perspective, these don’t effectively eliminate or cover the urine odor and may actually encourage your cat to reinforce the urine scent mark in that area.
Enzymatic cleaners won’t work until you’ve rinsed every trace of the old cleaner from the carpet if you’ve previously used cleaners or chemicals of any kind on the area. Even if you haven’t used chemicals recently, any trace of a non-protein-based substance will weaken the effect of the enzymatic cleaner. The cleaner will use up its “energy” on the old cleaners, instead of on the protein stains you want removed.
Many people ask whether their cats will be able to use the toilet in a new home, or a new toilet in an existing home. The answer is that most cats will be able to.
However, some cats may need to be reminded that the toilet is their place to go. It is probably wise to use the white Litter Kwitter seat for a week or so before you move, then use it in the new home so your cat’s scent moves with it.
Alternatively, you could take the toilet seat your cat uses from the old home and put it on the toilet in the new home.
The idea is to allow your cat to identify their scent on the new toilet which will help them identify the toilet as their place to go.
If your cat still has a problem identifying the toilet then you may have to partially repeat the training. This will be a reminder course for your cat and should not take long.
We strongly advise against using clumping clay as this will block plumbing if flushed. We only recommend flushable litter.
Training one cat is easy, training two cats takes more time and training three or more takes a huge commitment on behalf of the owner and their cats. Rest assured, however, that it is quite possible.
We have professional Breeders training litters of kittens from early kitten-hood that are sold virtually toilet trained to customers who do not have the time or patience to train Kitty themselves.
These breeders work with us to perfect the training techniques for multiple cats. With their help and Animal Behaviorists’ advice we can offer the following advice & tips:
When training 3 or more cats it’s a good idea to buy a second unit. We recommend splitting the slow learners up away from the cats that progress well. Place their Litter Kwitter on a container, into which a bowl of water is placed beneath the opening of the Amber disc (and later the Green disc). Into this bowl of water tip a capful of Enzymatic cleaner. These products can be purchased online & from Pet specialty stores.
The reason we do this is to keep the water fresh & odour free until you can clear it out and replace with fresh water. Some cats object to another cat’s odour and will often soil the floor in protest. These solutions are excellent for general cleaning up of any urine stain & odour.
It’s important to understand that cats love to please and they love to receive rewards. Rewards can be in the form of love, praise and touch – but let’s not forget the reward cats love most: food!