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I have two new rat baby boys (Born at 12/10/10) and I've been having some issues with them peeing and pooping on only the top level of their cage. I can't seem to locate a single corner they use as a bathroom and it is causing a huge mess in my place. The mess is horrible and because there is no bedding on the shelves (nor any way to keep the bedding on the shelves) they end up sitting and laying in their own waste.

I have a large, ferret sized cage with a deep tray bottom that I use carefresh ultra in. The different levels are solid shelves that are easily wiped down.

Should I just work on litter box training them for the level they primarily do this on or should I remove the shelves until they learn they need to do their business on the bottom of the cage, where the bedding is?
 

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Hi Sarah,
Well, from what I have always heard and from what I have read, it is best to put the potty tray for your ratties where they naturally have chosen to do their business, and put the tray there. If they are continually pooping on a certain level of their house, then I would definitely suggest going with that area and putting the tray there if you can do that. For some reason that is where they picked their spot! :)

You may have other rat people on this forum that offer different advice, but that is my opinion based on my personal experience and my rat books on potty training and so forth, heh heh. Maybe you will get some other advice on this soon as we have great forum members here with tons of experience with potty training! Hope to see pictures of your boys soon? :)
 

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P.S. on my last post. Most people use a low sided dish/tray and put in pellet litter, like Aspen Supreme or Yesterday's News litter pellets and you can train your rats to use the low dish/tray that is filled with litter pellets as their bathroom. When you see their poops in the cage, you can put a few into their tray on a regular basis to show them that this is the place they can poop. I used a low sided Tupperware tray and after seeing where my two rat boys were tending to poop, I put the tray there and kept reinforcing the potty training by putting their stray poops (or "raisins" as we like to call them!) into the dish. After a very short time, they got the idea. :)
Hope this helps a bit?
 

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Vlad gave you great advice. I did the exact same thing with my boys, and they have been completely potty trained since they were roughly the same age as your boys.

One thing I might suggest: Since they seem to prefer the shelves, I'd recommend not using the Carefresh on the entire bottom of the cage. I've noticed that my boys also prefer the bare plastic, so this could be one of the reasons why your boys are going to the bathroom on the shelves and not in their litter. I have a long, low-sided tray that I put on the bottom of their cage, and I use Yesterday's News in it. The rest of their cage has polar fleece blankets for them to snuggle in, but no litter other than in their litter box. This is much cleaner and better for them, too, since there is much less dust from the litter this way.

I'd recommend trying that--take out the Carefresh, put in a litter box with a denser litter (like YN), and put some polar fleece blankies in the cage for them. See what happens, and be persistent with putting the raisins in the litter box.
 

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Yes! Excellent post Breyer. :D

I was thinking about the fact that Sarah's boys are going to the bathroom up on their platforms and I thought about how my boys had the exact same set up as you, Breyer. Low dish, downstairs on the ground floor with some pellet litter in it and just fleece and non-looped towels, as they loved laying on plastic too.

Sarah, Breyer left you super advice. Exact same thing I did with my boys. Try taking out the Carefresh and using fleece like she suggested. And yes, be consistent with putting their raisins in the tray every day to teach them how to use their tray.
 

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i have took the levels out of my cage becuase i dont know what too use as bedding for the levels because there wire and i want something like carpet or something to put there so they dont hurt there feet.
 

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Well, rats are climbers and they enjoy being able to get up to ramps to hang out and such, so some ideas for the platforms, since you don't want them to hurt their feet on the wire, is to either line the levels with pieces of fleece blanket so they can still go up there and stand/lay down on the levels without risk of foot injury. Or, I have also heard rat owners talking about lining the ramps and platforms/levels with easy to clean adhesive cupboard liners, like the wallpaper type stuff you can line your kitchen shelves with, or that needlepoint screen material, which is porous but lets the ratties stand on it safely. Is that correct, rat forum people? Anyone can correct me on this if I am wrong?
 

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Yeah, Vlad, I've heard about that, too. I think the best option is the fleece--you can wash it, and it is pretty inexpensive if you have to replace it. Carpet is not a good idea because rats' fingernails can easily get stuck in the threads. (If you are supervising them around the house during playtime and they are on carpet, that is fine, but for unsupervised time in their cage it is best to use fleece, which does not get caught in their toes.)
 

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Yep, agreed. Carpet is not a good choice at all. Bad for those delicate little toes and horrific to try to clean anyway. Fleece is always such a great choice. :)
 
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