When you share your home with a house bunny it can also mean sharing access to your couch. Most of the time this doesn't cause any problems till that one time when out of nowhere your bunny decides it's their new litter tray.
When this habit starts it can be hard to stop and can eventually become incredibly frustrating, spoiling the time you spend together.
In this guide we run through most of the common causes and solutions to this problem.
The best way to tell your bunny No!
We have tips from bunny parents that have fixed this problem so you can learn how to get things back to normal.
We also talk about the best way to tell your bunny No! if you catch them and what if any health problems could be causing this.
Peeing and pooping accidents are not an uncommon problem for people that share their couch with their bunnies. If this is the case, read to see what can lie behind this problem and the best way to remedy the situation before it becomes a habit.
Avoid giving your bunny food, especially treats on your couch. It can get them over excited and this competitiveness can result in them choosing to mark this territory by weeing on it. It is best to keep them in a calm state when they are on the couch with you.
Bunnies also tend to like to go to the toilet where they eat so you want to avoid any association between feeding and pooping and peeing.
If your bunny is very comfortable or is being given a consent supply of cuddles or treats on your couch, they may decide that rather than going to their litter tray they will simply go to the toilet where they are.
They go to the toilet frequently so It's important for you to recognize when they will probably need to do this and break away from what you are doing and literally lead them to their litter tray before it's too late.
Some of the signs that your bunny is getting ready to go to the toilet is they will become fidgety, often grooming themselves, they may start to try and get to a corner position backing themselves into the corner.
However, this may not always be the case and they will simply pee where they are sitting!
Lastly its important to make their litter tray as inviting as possible. Make sure you encourage them to go their by placing it in a quiet spot next to a wall and place their food next to or even over it as its normal for bunnies to spend time in this space, pooping and nibbling on hay.
Bunnies like most pets want to establish their place in our homes, they are territorial when it comes to competing for the things they want and one of the ways they will establish their place on the couch is by marking it with their scent.
This can just be a few chin rubs however they will often go a bit further and use this area as a toilet to really establish their place there. This can be especially true if you have not had your bunny spayed or neutered as they will have stronger instincts and drives around this behavior.
If they do jump up on the couch with you on it don't let them get in between you or someone else.
Also avoid letting them jump about on you or on the back of the couch as this dominating behavior is likely to be a part of them trying to compete with you which could lead to them trying to mark a spot you are in.
Instead encourage them to sit calmly in a space to the side of your couch that they can establish as theirs then don't invade this space. If they become frigidity, kick them off for a bit, then let them try again calmly.
After a while they should feel comfortable enough to spend time in this space without marking it by peeing there.
Some bunny owners have said they have had success by letting their bunny have an old towel they are allowed to sit on that they don't clean, including if their bunny has peed on it. The idea is if you give your bunny its own spot it will lose its urge to keep marking it.
In a lot of cases people find that having their bunnies spayed or neutered led to better litter training and toilet habits. Speak to an exotic vets and they will be able to advise you.
If your bunny has suddenly started peeing on your couch for the first time after many years of not doing this it's worth checking if this problem is being caused by restricted mobility which can come with age or a health problem.
If you think this is the case it is worth asking a Vet specializing in exotic pets who will be able to advise you.
If it is the case, then you want to help your bunny to get on and off your couch to make getting to the litter tray easier.
If you catch your bunny peeing on your couch it can feel like a real disappointment having to spend time cleaning things up instead of spending time playing with your bunny.
However, it's also the best time to be cool headed and take steps to send a clear message to your bunny that this is bad behavior.
In this simple guide we show you how to avoid this frustration and teach your bunny to share your home.
The first thing to recognize is you should only tell your bunny off if you catch them in the act.
If you leave it till your bunny has jumped away then telling them off will be wasted as they will not remember what they have done and why you are chastising them.
If you do catch you peeing or pooping on your couch, it's important not to overreact. Never shout loudly or clap aggressively at your bunny, they have sensitive hearing, and this could cause them a lot of stress.
Never hit or forcefully remove your bunny, unlike cats and dogs they simply will not understand this type of discipline and it is unlikely to deter them, physical punishment could even cause harm if they bolt and fall. Over time it can make them timid or even aggressive towards you.
Instead say their name followed by a firm NO! even repeating this a few times. If your bunny is used to being picked up, then scoop them up or if not usher them into their pen or an area where they cannot come back into the room.
When your bunny is safely out the way you will then need to clean up and make sure you remove any scent where the accident happened or your bunny will want to keep going back to this spot and add to it.
If it's just some poops then toss these in the litter try and give the surface a quick spray with some fabric freshener.
If it's a pee stain then it's important to wash any covers that can be removed and soak out any moisture and again treat surfaces with a fabric freshener.
As a last resort you can give a stronger message by using a water mister filled with water. Then when you catch your bunny in the act you can spray a mist of cold water over them to put them off.
An additional way to stop peeing accidents that some people say does work for them is to teach their bunny voice commands.
You can start this by noticing when your bunny is going to the potty and repeat a keyword to them like 'Wee Wee, Wee Wee'.
Then when you think your bunny needs the litter tray next time you lead them to it, repeat the words over again along the way. This will help your bunny understand that this is a special activity.
Given enough time and practice the idea is you will be able to use this voice command when you think your bunny needs the toilet and you will find they will often trot off on their own and come back when they are done.