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Toilet Training a Parrot

Parrots are clever birds, which makes them relatively easy to teach. Many species can be taught to poop in a certain place, just like a cat or dog. This is very handy if your parrot spends a lot of time outside the cage. It takes a lot of patient training, and like all forms of bird training, positive reinforcement - treats and words of encouragement - helps a lot.

The larger parrots are much better at managing the call of nature than smaller species such as budgies and parrotlets. These small birds poop very frequently, and have no instinct for "visiting the bathroom". Younger birds of the larger species have the best chance of being toilet trained.

Hyacinth Macaw toilet training
Hyacinth Macaws can be house-trained just like a dog

Top Tips For Toilet Training Parrots

  • Toilet Training Commands for Parrots

    - Choose a short word or phrase for the bird to learn, such as “Poop time!” Intonation is as important as the words themselves, and everyone talking to the bird will need to say the word or phrase in the same way.
  • Knowing When Your Parrot Needs To Poop

    - Parrots usually start the day with a poop. They also feel the urge after eating, or when taken out, or returned to their cage. Watch your pet closely to work out its pooing routine. There are pre-poop clues to look out for, too, such as a flicking tail, a crouching posture, or a ruffling of the feathers.
  • Starting Toilet Training

    - Use the ‘step-up’ training approach (see the Parrot Training section of this guide). Once he’s on your hand, hold your parrot over the space or container you wish to use as the parrot toilet. This could be a certain section of the enclosure, a kitty-tray, a bowl, even your own toilet. It’s important for the bird to make the link between the object an its location, to avoid it happily pooping in any old bowl or similar object!) Use your chosen toilet training command, and when the droppings appear, fuss and praise the parrot, using finger-strokes and a treat. Over time, the connection will be made, but it needs patience. Never get angry or shout at the bird if it poops in the ‘wrong’ place.
  • Reinforcing Toilet Training

    - A parrot who has learnt to ‘step up’ and poop on command will still relieve itself in other places when nature calls. Usually, though, the bird will come to realize that pooping on command brings benefits that normal pooping doesn't! Eventually he will visit the toilet area instinctively, although it may take the bird a while to stop squawking every time it needs to go! Larger parrots don’t poop as often as smaller species, and this makes them much easier to train: if you assist them with the ‘step up’ procedure as soon as they leave the cage, you won’t have to worry about more toilet breaks for an hour or so.

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