After many steps of preparation, it was time to actually start potty training our two cats. We had gotten them used to the training tray, and had even moved to just having the tray on the floor instead of their litter box.
The next step in the potty training process was a bit ‘bigger’, so we decided to wait until a Saturday. After we were all awake and had cleaned the litter in the tray, we moved the tray from the floor up to the toilet. What happens is that you put the tray between the bowl and the seat. It’s important to leave the lid open at all times, so the cat(s) always have access. They recommend you tape the lid open if it tends to close easily. Again, we used the treats to lure the cats upstairs to show them the new location of their litter tray. We made sure to pick them up, one at a time, and place them on the tray, and then give them a treat. After they got their treats, we all went downstairs. Then it was just time to wait. After maybe an hour, someone went up to check, and we were happy to find out that moving the tray up off the floor didn’t stop the cats from using it! We use flushable litter as mentioned in the instructions, so we just picked the tray up, scooped the clumps out into the bowl, replaced the tray, and then flushed. This went just as described, with no problems. The only drawback is that the toilet then is not very convenient for humans to use. It’s best to do this if you have more than one bathroom in your home!
The next step is to start removing the rings inside the tray. Once the cats have successfully used the tray on the toilet without any problems for about a week, you can remove the smallest hole in the middle. Again, we picked a weekend to do this. It’s best to have people around to check the tray frequently. You want to make sure to scoop out the clumps as soon as possible. Since the tray holds less litter than a litter box, you need to keep it extra clean. My husband works from home, so this works well for us.
I think it also helps that our cats aren’t overly concerned with actually covering up when they’re done using the litter. Some cats like to make sure to really bury it, but ours just sort of scratch the litter around before and after, and don’t really cover anything up. That was something that I didn’t like at first, but now I think it is working in our favor. The cats don’t seem to mind having such a small amount of litter to paw through. This is a really good thing; the amount of litter in there gets less and less as the hole in the tray gets bigger.
After a week of no ‘accidents’, my husband removed the second ‘ring’, making the hole bigger. Again, the cats seemed to adjust well. We did run into a small problem that was easily fixed, though. As the tray gets smaller, the cats become more likely to want to use something else if it is easier for them. The first time there was an accident, the cats had knocked some litter onto the floor as they were scratching around in it. One of them decided that litter on the floor was an acceptable place to go. It’s a good thing bathroom floors are easy to clean! We now keep a broom and dust pan in the bathroom to make it easy to quickly sweep up any litter that ends up on the floor. The second accident happened a little while later, next to their litter scoop. We realized that they were associating the scoop as a place to ‘go’. We had kept the scoop next to their litter box when it was still in the bathroom. Now that the scoop is hidden in a garbage can, there haven’t been any more problems. It even worked well when we went away for a day (including overnight) at the beginning of May. Two accidents wasn’t a big deal for us. They haven’t had any problems for several weeks now.
Note: we also temporarily removed the bathroom rugs. We figured that if they got litter stuck in the rugs, they would decide those are ‘litter boxes’. Once they’re fully potty trained, and the litter is gone, the rugs will be going back in there. For now, we’re not really using that bathroom much except for the sink anyway.
We started our cats sometime in April with the potty training process, after both cats had time to adjust to being here. No one said this process would be fast! The instructions say it can take a month or two from the beginning to the end, but that some cats pick it up in as little as two weeks. It also mentions to allow extra time if you have more than one cat. We’re not rushing through the process. We think it will actually be faster if we take our time and don’t risk having to back track. We’re happy that we’re progressing, and that it’s been a relatively smooth and easy process for all of us. There are now only two rings left to go. We read that once you remove the last ring, it’s recommended to leave the base of the tray there for a week or so without litter, before removing the tray completely. We’re very happy that we’re getting close to the end, and that it has been going well so far.