Can Animals Learn How to Use the Toilet?

Did you know that it is possible to train dogs, cats, and even bears to use the toilet? Getting rid of all their waste in a way that makes sense (and doesn’t involve us touching it) seems like a tempting proposition.

Most animals can learn how to use the toilet if you’re willing to train them to do so. What is interesting about this process is the fact that humans may have learned about getting rid of waste safely from the animals themselves a long time ago.

We have a brotherhood with the rest of nature in how we get rid of waste. Yay!


Where Do Animals Go to the Bathroom?

Sharing a public toilet is not always a pleasant experience. You never really know what the last person did in that stall. Do you really think a thin layer of paper or covering the seat in toilet paper is going to prevent germ transfers?

Well, animals feel the same way about going to the bathroom. Most of them have an aversion to poop germs too. That’s why they use common spaces for their waste in a manner that is similar to our public toilets. Animals poop in strategic locations where they can go without being placed in a vulnerable position to be attacked by predators. It is also away from where everyone eats or sleeps – for obvious reasons.

What we use a toilet for is a little different. Our goal is to improve our sanitation to prevent disease transfers. Animals often create public latrines to build social networking opportunities. That’s right. When you find a pile of animal poop, then you have discovered the animal kingdom’s equivalent to a Facebook page.


Should We Teach Animals to Use the Toilet?

Although it sounds like a convenient idea to train an animal to use the toilet, it may not be a behavior that suits their needs very well. For starters, it interferes with the natural behavior of the animal. Cats especially benefit from digging holes and covering their waste.

There is the stress issue to consider with some animals. Having a cat fall into the toilet could be a traumatic event that might cause additional behavioral issues in the future. Older pets might struggle to reach the seat or straddle it correctly to use the bathroom safely.

Veterinarians also point out that it is possible to determine health issues with your pets by observing how they use the bathroom. You lose some of this opportunity when “it” ends up in a bowl of water.

Even if you disagree with every key point here, there is still the issue of flushing. Unless you can help your pet figure out how to push the button or lever when they are finished, you will still be smelling the open toilet until you begin to flush. Maybe try a self-composting toilet.

Some pets want to use the toilet all on their own. If that occurs, then do not discourage the behavior. You might offer the usual alternative instead. That way, you’ll provide the support your pet needs while they can continue with the work of loving you unconditionally.

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