Birds can be amazing pets, but one of the biggest downsides is having to clean out their cages regularly, especially to clean out all of the poop they leave all over the cage floor. Because yes, birds poop a lot, everywhere.
This is why you might be wondering whether you can teach a bird where to poop, kind of like when you potty train a cat or a dog to relieve themselves in the same spot, that is easier to clean.
Truth is, training a bird is a lot harder than training a cat or a dog, and it will take a lot more time and a lot more practice, and a huge amount of patience and consistency.
However, it is possible to eventually have the bird know exactly where it is supposed to poop, and you can even train some birds to go to relieve themselves on command, much like how a dog knows when it’s time to go to the toilet.
There are a few steps to the process of teaching a bird where to poop, and again, it takes a lot of time and a lot of practice day after day.
It’s also a lot easier to train younger birds, as they are still developing and learning, and will therefore be able to adapt to routines and commands a lot easier and faster.
And the same goes for larger birds, as they usually poop less often, and so will also be easier to train in that regard.
Here are the steps to potty train your bird:
- Observe and analyze:
Start by observing your bird’s behavior and patterns, so that you can begin to have a good idea of how often your bird relieves itself, and what are the main times of the day it does so, and if there are any specific areas of the cage where it does it.
The more you learn about your bird and how it goes to poop naturally, the better you will be able to adapt your training so that you set your bird up for success and the process is easier and faster.
Smaller birds will poop multiple times every hour, very often. Larger birds, on the other hand, can poop every few hours.
- Watch for cues:
It is super important to learn the cues that indicate that your bird is about to poop. Whether it’s a change in their body posture, or a certain movement they make, or an area they go to.
You should observe for as long as necessary until you get pretty good at knowing that your bird is going to poop, just before they relieve themselves. Kind of like becoming a master at being a step or two ahead, so you know exactly when it’s going to happen.
This will make the training a lot easier, as you will be able to place the bird in a certain space right as it is about to relieve itself, so it’s not left up to chance and luck as much.
- Pick a potty or toilet area for your bird:
Next, before you start the actual training, you need to choose where you want your bird to poop. It could be a little bowl, or a piece of newspaper set in a corner of the cage, or similar.
You should choose a place that is easy for the bird to recognize and identify. It should also be a place that is accessible for easy and fast cleaning. After all, the point of the training is to make life a lot easier for you in regards to the cleanliness of your bird’s cage!
- Positive reinforcement of the area:
The next step is to have your bird associate pooping in that designated toilet area with a good thing worthy of praise and reward. So every time your bird relieves itself in the potty area, give it praise and a reward.
If you know the cues of your bird, so that you can predict when it is about to relieve itself, you can place your bird in the potty area, just in time, and then add the praise. This will make the process a lot faster, as you won’t be waiting for your bird to poop in the right place by chance.
- Pick a command:
Once your bird has started to go to the right potty area to poop, thanks to all the positive reinforcement, you can try adding a command. This should be something simple like “go potty” or “toilet” or “poop time”.
Something easy that your bird will be able to quickly pick up and understand. It’s also important that everybody in your household uses the same command, so as to not confuse the bird!
- Train the command:
Once you have your command, it’s all about training it over and over again, so that your bird begins to associate the command with pooping in the right place.
When you see the cues of your bird about to poop, and your bird goes to the potty place, speak the command out loud. It’s all about repetition so that your bird hears the command every single time.
Eventually, if you know the average pooping schedule of your bird, you can time it well and give the command when you believe your bird needs to go potty, and your bird will eventually follow suit and poop in the right place whenever you say so!
- Never punish or reprimand your bird:
The process is slow, and there will be many mistakes along the way. Your bird might make a significant process, but it might also still poop in the wrong place now and then, which is completely normal.
You can’t expect 100% success overnight! And even when your bird is fully trained, it might still slip up now and then because it really has to relieve itself.
The really important thing is that you never reprimand or punish your bird for getting it wrong and pooping in the wrong place. Not only because negative reinforcement does nothing for the training, but because your bird might then start to poop in the wrong place on purpose, whenever it seeks attention.
So basically, negative reprimands could seriously backfire on you, and should be completely avoided.
Can you potty train a cockatiel?
Cockatiel birds need a lot of attention, which means that they need to spend a lot of time interacting with their owners, whether it is actively playing or simply hanging out together.
This also means that these birds will usually spend a lot of time outside of their cages, as they prefer to perch on the owner’s shoulder so that they feel connected to whatever it is the owner is doing at any given time.
The problem with this is that you risk having them poop all over the house!
Unless that is, you potty train them. Because yes, it is completely possible to potty train a cockatiel, and it is recommended that you do if you want to let it fly around the house without the risk of having bird poop everywhere!
Go back to the first question we answered for a step-by-step guide on how to potty train your bird.
Can you potty train a dove?
Doves are one of the easiest birds to train, and they are very good at retaining information and instructions over long periods of time.
As such, it is more than possible to potty train a dove, and it will be a great way to avoid them relieving themselves everywhere.
Can you toilet train a parrot?
Parrots are highly intelligent birds, and one of the easiest to potty train. You can go back to our first answered question, for a step-by-step guide on how to train your bird where to poop.