Pot Bellied Pigs/Potty Training
QUESTION: I got my male pot when he was 8 wks old, already neutered. Potty training has been a struggle since day one! He started out in a play pen with a cat litter box. He enjoyed playing in it...and using the bathroom elsewhere. I put papertowels with pee in the litter box, along with some of his pig berries hoping he would get the idea...then he went in the litterbox approximately half the time. I finally figured out that he pees while he drinks...regardless of where the water dish is located! He outgrew the playpen so i bought a dog exercise pen and made him a pig palace in a spare bedroom with a tile floor. At the point that he was moved into the exercise pen he was already going outside for number 2, and still attempting to litter box train for number 1. I have taught him how to use dog water bottles and they are positioned in his pen so that he has to be in the litter box to drink. He will go to the litter box now to use the bathroom without drinking. Unfortunately, Once he is outside of his pen any place in my carpeted home is fair game! If I dont let him out every 30 minutes or so, he pees in the floor. I started taking up the water bowl in the kitchen hoping he would go back to his pen to drink and while he was there...use the litter box. No such luck. When the water bowl is down, he doesnt leave it until its empty. He is never without water so i find it hard to believe that he is that thirsty. I love him to death, and he isnt going anywhere regardless. Actually, i am in the process of removing all the carpet and putting tile throughout the house so at least when he makes a mess its easier to clean and doesnt hold smell. i would still prefer he stop though. He knows it is wrong too because i will catch him in the act and say his name and he runs...doesnt stop peeing...leaves a trail. He is 6 months old currently. Any ideas? Thank you!!!
ANSWER: Young pigs have to pee frequently. Often, they don't know they have to pee until it's too late to make a dash for the litter box.
Occasionally a pig will pee while drinking. Often, but not always, it means piggy was dehydrated at one point. I am wondering if drinking from the bottle is somehow unsatisfying, so he is drinking more than necessary. So one possible solution might be to use a bowl only.
You mention that he needs to pee every 30 minutes or so. So the trick is to stay one step ahead of his schedule. If he pees every 30 minutes, take him to potty after 20 or 25 minutes. That's a lot of pottying, but if you can get it all in the right place, it's a start. And if you keep him empty, hopefully he won't have the urge to make more accidents.
Finally, you may want to have a vet give him a check up. Urinary infections are common in male pigs, and one symptom is constant urination.
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QUESTION: Thank you for your advice. I switched back to a water bowl in his pen and he does seem to drink less frequently and smaller amounts now. I started taking him to go potty every 20 to 30 minutes and giving him a treat after he pees which has helped me to teach him what he is actually outside to do. I don't think he was going potty every time I let him outside until I started doing this. I now have another problem that just started yesterday and I am completely stumped! We take him and the dogs out the backdoor which is through the kitchen from the living room. There is linoleum in the kitchen and in the bedroom he stays in during the day so hard floors aren't a new thing for him. Yesterday evening he decided he is afraid of the floors in the bedroom and kitchen. He will not walk through the kitchen period! I carried him outside yesterday, which was rather tough because he already weighs around 30 pounds, and when I brought him back in he refused to leave the door. He huddled in the corner all hunched over and looked at the center of the kitchen like there was a predator waiting for him! I tried to lay blankets across the floor thinking maybe the floors were cold on his feet but he was still very hesitant to take more than a few steps. I put some carrot pieces in the center of the kitchen and he won't even go for that. When I take him back to his room he does the same thing. Stands at the very edge of the carpet and refuses to come in the room. Only difference is I can put food in his pen and then he will cross the room to go into his pen and eat. I'm completely baffled, nothing has happened to this pig in the kitchen of anywhere else. He isn't afraid of the dogs and he never left alone with them. Any ideas?! Thank you so much!
Pigs do some strange things, and this is one of them. One moment all is well, the next, pig refuses to step through a door way or walk across the room, for no apparent reason.
Usually, though, the problem place has some sort of potential floor problem. It might be stairs, a raised threshold, a possibly slippery surface, or painfully sharp (like fresh gravel). Chances are piggy had a misstep on that surface or spot. You probably didn't notice because it probably wasn't a big fall, but even a slight twist of the leg can be very painful and piggy would rather not experience that again.
Try laying down a carpet runner or row of bath or rubber mats to make a path through the kitchen for him. Eventually he may feel comfortable on the bare floor again.