During my mini pig research, I read over and over that mini pig potty training is easier than potty training a dog, but I was skeptical. I have potty trained two dogs, and one was a nightmare (I’m looking at you, Rylee) and the second dog was a little easier since he followed Rylee’s lead and learned to use the dog door quickly. I wasn’t going to be fooled by thinking that potty training a mini pig would be easy and then be angry and frustrated later. Nope, I prepared for the worst: sleepless nights, constant crate cleaning, surprises of unexpected accidents in random places in the house.
As it turned out, potty training Oscar was much easier than potty training my dogs. In fact, we really didn’t have to potty train him. From the day we brought him home, he preferred to go outside instead of in the house. Since pigs prefer to go to the bathroom in the same spot (sometimes uncomfortably so), we picked a spot for him outside and took him there each time we went out.
That doesn’t mean we didn’t have accidents to clean up, but they weren’t due to Oscar not knowing where to go. Most have been our fault and just needed adjusting our strategy. We ran into two main issues.
Consistency: Young piglets can’t completely hold their bladders until they are older, so getting Oscar outside consistently and frequently enough and at the right time was a challenge. Unlike our dogs, Oscar won’t go a little each time we take him out. Instead, he likes to hold off until he really has to go and then goes all at once. What this meant for us is that we could take him out three times in a row with no result and then the fourth time he would go because that’s when he really needed to.
This has been frustrating at times, but the issue vastly improved once we figured out the pattern and adjusted our process. The key for us was getting him out every hour or two knowing that sometimes he would go and sometimes he wouldn’t, but we needed to give him the opportunity. The alternative is that he wouldn’t be able to hold it any longer at some point and would pick a spot in the house. Frequency and consistency in taking him out was key.
Meal Time: We soon realized that most of Oscar’s accidents happened within an hour after meal time. He would pee two or three times in the house after a meal which we figured out was due to drinking too much water too quickly while eating. In my research, I read how it’s important for piglets to have access to fresh water at all times, but having it available for him at meal time didn’t work. He would go back and forth between his food and water bowls every few bites and take in too much water which was causing the bathroom problems. So, we found some fun and different ways to feed him or just put a little water in with this food pellets and then made sure he had access to his water bowl at all other times.
I know a litter box is a great solution for mini pigs and their families, but we ultimately chose to not go that route. My husband is not a fan of odors in the home and preferred we stick to outside, and I’m home to take Oscar outside frequently so we didn’t need an indoor option. That’s also good because we tried a litter box the first night, and Oscar preferred to use it as a sleeping box.