The Pros and Cons of Toilet Training Cats

Your litter-box-using cat can learn to use the toilet.
Your litter-box-using cat can learn to use the toilet. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Although a toilet-trained cat can earn you bragging rights and might seem like the ideal pet companion, having your cat use a bathroom instead of a litter box comes with ups and downs. Before teaching your cat to go potty in the toilet, consider all the pros and cons so you know what to expect and can prevent unpleasant surprises.

The Benefits

If your cat uses a litter box, cleaning it regularly is essential, because if it's dirty and smelly, your finicky feline might refuse to use it and choose to eliminate elsewhere. Teaching your cat to do his business in the toilet instead of a litter box eliminates the cleanup. You won't have to deal with scooping soiled litter or washing the litter box. Additionally, you'll save money that you would otherwise spend to buy litter.

Persistence and Patience

If you don't have the patience to teach your cat to use the toilet, avoid starting the process. Although some cats can learn to use the toilet in as little as three weeks, it will most likely take your cat a few months to be fully toilet trained, especially if he's shy and submissive and prefers to cover his deposits. During the training period, your cat can make many mistakes that you'll have to cleanup. You'll have to accept this and continue to be persistent in your training.

Disease Detection

Medical conditions in cats are often detected by changes in their elimination habits. When you regularly clean your cat's litter box, it's easy to tell whether there is a change in the amount he eliminates. If your cat is trained to use the toilet, detecting these changes is difficult, especially if you train your cat to flush after he's done. You won't be able to tell whether he's eliminating more or less frequently or whether there are changes in the volume.


Ideally, your cat is using a separate toilet from yours, but if not, you must leave the door to the toilet open all the time and the toilet lid must stay up. Forgetting to leave the lid up can make your cat look for another place to do his business. Additionally, you might have to place a padded, soft cover over the toilet seat if your cat has trouble balancing on it. If he ever falls in, he might not want to use the toilet again.

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