Adding a bird to your family is a big decision. You’re not only welcoming a new member into your home, but you’re also taking on the responsibility of training them.
There are lots of ways you might train your pet bird – like learning how to follow basic commands and say simple phrases.
But did you know you can also train your pet bird to go to the bathroom whenever and wherever you’d like it to?
Yes, that’s right, birds can be potty trained! It may seem daunting at first, but with some patience and positive reinforcement, your bird will be going potty in no time.
Here’s what you need to know about potty training your bird.
Potty Training a Bird: Is It Possible?
Though it may seem daunting at first, potty training your bird is possible with patience and positive reinforcement.
Many bird owners ask themselves the question, “why would I want to potty train my bird?”
The most obvious benefit of potty training your bird is convenience. If your bird is potty trained, you will not have to constantly clean up after him or her.
This can be a big relief, especially if you share your home with other family members or roommates who are not as fond of birds as you are.
Another benefit of potty training your bird is that it can be a bonding experience for the two of you.
Potty training takes time and patience, and during this process, you will get to know your bird’s behaviors and cues very well.
This shared experience can help to create a strong bond between you and your feathered friend.
If you are thinking about getting a bird but are concerned about the cost of buying bird food and litter, then potty training your bird may be a good solution for you.
While this isn’t always the case, for some pet bird species, the process of potty training opens up a variety of other food options.
Once your bird is fully trained, he or she will only need to eat fruits, vegetables, and pellets – which are usually much cheaper than seed mixes.
In addition, you will not have to buy bird litter anymore, which can add up over time. Instead, you’ll just have to have some place set aside where your bird can do “her business.”
Some people argue that potty training your bird (particularly, your parrot) is a bad idea. It can cause your bird to “hold it” until he dies.
That’s not true and there is no scientific evidence to back that up.
In fact, besides the fact that you might spend some extra time doing so, there are really no risks associated with potty training your pet bird.
Are Birds Hard to Potty Train?
Yes and no.
Potty training a bird is not as simple as it is with mammals. In order to properly potty train a bird, you must first understand how they poop.
Birds poop and urinate at the same time. The poop is normally in the form of a soft pellet, while the urine is a liquid.
Understanding this fact about birds is important, as is knowing their daily routines so you can plan ahead for the process of potty training.
While birds aren’t necessarily hard to train, it’s important to educate yourself before you begin the process with your family.
With patience and consistency, you can successfully potty train your bird. Let’s take a closer look at how to do it.
How to Potty Train Your Pet Bird
Just like almost any other animal, pet birds can be potty trained. This process can seem daunting, but with a little patience and some effort, you will have your bird potty trained in no time!
Here’s how to do it:
Train Yourself to Your Bird’s Signals
First, it is important to train yourself to your bird’s signals. Each bird is different, but they will all give some kind of signal when they need to go.
Pay attention to your bird’s behavior and look for patterns.
There are a few natural signals that your bird has to go potty.
One is perching on one leg. This is usually accompanied by fidgeting or preening, as your bird tries to keep its balance.
Another signal is increased vocalization. This is because birds often vocalize when they feel the need to relieve themselves.
Finally, your bird may also start eating more frequently. This is because birds stimulate their digestive system when they eat, which can also lead to the need to defecate.
If you notice any of these signals, it’s time to take your bird to its potty spot!
Once you know what to look for, it will be much easier to take them outside or to their designated potty area on time.
Pay Attention to the Frequency of Your Bird’s Droppings
For bird owners, the key to potty training is to pay attention to the frequency of your bird’s droppings.
It may be as frequent as every ten to fifteen minutes or as infrequent as twice a day.
Find a Suitable Place to Go
Have a designated potty area. This could be a certain corner of the room or a small table that you set up specifically for your bird’s potty.
Make sure this area is easy for your bird to access and that it is always clean. Put some paper or other absorbent material in the bottom of the designated area to make cleanup easier.
Establish a Command
One of the first steps in potty training is to establish a command that will cue your bird to go to the bathroom.
This can be a simple word or phrase, such as “potty” or “go potty.”
Once you have established a command, you will need to consistently use it every time you take your bird to the designated bathroom area.
Over time, your bird should learn to associate the command with going to the bathroom, making potty training a successful process.
Move Your Bird to the Spot When He Needs to Go
Move your bird to the spot where he needs to go when he needs to go.
This could be a special perch in the corner of the cage or a specific area of your home that you’ve designated as the “bathroom.”
Once your bird associates this spot with relieving himself, he’ll start to go there on his own.
Say the Command When He Goes to Help Him Make the Connection
One of the key things to remember is to say the command you want your bird to learn (e.g., “potty” or “go potty”) when he actually goes.
This will help him make the connection between the command and the desired behavior.
Make sure you say this command each and every time your bird goes so that he makes the connection between the behavior and the command.
Reward the Behavior (Give Treats)
Reward good behavior. Whenever your bird uses their designated potty area, be sure to give them lots of praise and rewards!
This could be treats, head scratches, or anything else that your bird enjoys.
Rewarding them will help reinforce the good behavior and make it more likely that they will use their designated potty area again in the future.
If you’re looking to potty train your bird, one of the best things you can do is to praise him when he goes in the right place.
This positive reinforcement will let him know that he’s doing what you want him to do, and it will make it more likely that he’ll continue doing it in the future.
There are a few different ways you can go about praise, but one of the simplest is simply to say “good bird” or something similar whenever he goes in his potty area.
Be Patient—But Consistent
Scolding or punishing your bird will only make them scared and less likely to want to use the potty in your presence.
Instead, remain patient and consistent with your training, and you’ll soon have a well-trained pet bird.
Patience and consistency are key when potty training your bird. If you’re not willing to put in the time and effort, you’re likely to be disappointed with the results.
Remember, potty training your bird is a long-term project, not a short-term fix. So set your expectations accordingly and you’re sure to be successful.
Common Mistakes When Potty Training a Bird
These are just a few of the most common mistakes people make when potty training a bird, but by avoiding these pitfalls you will be well on your way to success.
Starting Too Early
One of the most common mistakes people make when potty training a bird is not starting early enough.
It is much easier to train a young bird than an older one, so it is important to begin as soon as possible.
That said, you also need to avoid starting potty training with a very young bird, since they won’t have the skills necessary to do so and it may cause unnecessary stress.
Having Unrealistic Expectations
Potty training your bird can be a challenging but rewarding task. However, it’s important to have realistic expectations about the process.
Many people make the mistake of expecting their bird to be fully potty trained within a few weeks. However, it often takes months or even years for a bird to learn to use the toilet properly.
Scolding or Hitting Your Bird
Scolding or hitting your bird is a common mistake people make when potty training their birds. Birds are very intelligent creatures and can easily learn new things with the proper guidance.
However, they do not respond well to scolding or violence. When you scold your bird, it will only make them scared and less likely to want to listen to you. The same goes for hitting them.
Hitting your bird will not teach them anything, and it will only make them afraid of you.
If you want to effectively potty train your bird, you need to be patient and use positive reinforcement instead of negative punishment.
Reward your bird when they do something good, and amp up the rewards as they continue to improve.
Eventually, you will be able to successfully potty train your bird without resorting to violence.
Going it Alone
Seek professional help if needed. If you find yourself struggling to potty train your bird, it may be helpful to seek out professional help from a trainer or behaviorist who has experience with birds.
They will be able to give you additional tips and guidance specific to your situation.
How Long Does it Take to Potty Train a Pet Bird?
Just like with potty training children, potty training a pet bird takes time, patience, and lots of positive reinforcement.
The process will be quicker if you only focus on urination training at first since birds generally have more control over their bladders than their bowels.
Once urination training is well underway, you can begin to focus on defecation training.
The process is similar to urination training, but it may take a bit longer since birds tend to be messier when they relieve themselves.
On average, it takes a few weeks to months to train a pet bird, but in some special cases, can take as little as just a few days.
Potty Training Birds: Final Thoughts
If you’ve been thinking about potty training your pet bird, there’s no time like the present to start.
Use these tips and tricks to get started, and before you know it, your feathered friend will be using the potty like a pro!