How to Potty Train a 5 Week Old Kitten

Five-week old kittens are old enough to litter train.
Five-week old kittens are old enough to litter train. (Image: kitten image by Natalia Kosyanenko from <a href=''></a>)

By the time a kitten reaches 5 weeks old, it is ready for weaning and its stools will become more obvious; before this time, the mother cat has usually been disposing (by licking) of the kitten’s waste and you may not have noticed much at all. Some good news is that most kittens, even at this young age, easily take to the litter box—especially if they see their mother use it.

Things You'll Need

  • Small, shallow litter box
  • Biodegradable cat litter

Put out a small, shallow litter box. These are specially made for kittens and you can find them at many pet stores. Tiny 5-week-old kittens still have trouble climbing over the walls of standard-size boxes.

Pour biodegradable litter made from digestible substances, such as wheat or corn, into the box to a depth of 2 inches. Kittens often ingest some of the litter. If you use a clay cat litter, this could cause digestive problems for the kitten.

Place the box in the same room as the kitten, in an area easy to access and away from noises and activity—the latter may frighten a kitten away from the box. Place any kitten waste, if available, into the box and place the kitten gently in with it so it gets the idea.

Pet Education recommends also taking the kitten's little paw and helping it scratch the litter.

Put the kitten calmly in the box each time you notice it seems to search for a place to squat and urinate or defecate. Also, allow the mother cat to use the box—kittens learn a lot by observing what their mothers do.

Remain quiet as the kitten uses the box, even if you are tempted to yell out some praise. Unlike a puppy, a kitten will simply become startled and may associate the box with something bad. You want to establish litter box use as a pleasant experience. For this reason, even when you see the kitten going outside the box, do not yell or get angry or the kitten may then associate the litter box with angry yelling.

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