Mini Pig Potty Training

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.

Oscar Asleep in Litterbox First Night 5.8.15
Oscar sleeping in his litterbox.
Oscar Asleep in Litterbox First Night 5.8.15
Oscar asleep in his litterbox.

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14 thoughts on “Mini Pig Potty Training”

  1. O.M.G. You might have just saved my sanity with this post.
    We are unable to get my piggy house trained. He pees CONSTANTLY! We have been giving him a big bowl of water with his food…and available through out the day.
    Tomorrow is the trial! Just a little bit of water in with his pellets!! Wish us luck

    1. Good luck with the trial! Potty issues are so frustrating, but not giving Oscar a lot of water with his pellets helped us a ton. We give him a small bowl of water with his pellets now, and I know a lot of pig parents wet the pellets down like you mentioned. Hope your trial goes well!

  2. Our piglet is unfortunately not neutered yet, so he is going potty in the same spot like a dog would who is marking his territory. It’s just his spot. One in front of my sons bedroom door & one in front of our bedroom door. My fiancé is starting to lose his mind over it. I’m hoping once we get him neutered this week, it will stop. We have tried EVERYTHING to stop him from going in those spots. Like every possible floor odor cleaner you can think of. Did you experience this with Oscar?

    1. I have a male pig who is 8 months old. He has been neutered since he was about 4 months old. I can’t get this pig to pee outside!!! He will poop outside only, but he has certain areas in the house where he pees. I have invested in alot of pee pee pads and 9 times out of 10 he uses them to pee. Every now and then he will just pee where ever he is standing at the time. My floors are gross. I am constantly steam cleaning them. I have heard from Oscars mommy that they can’t really hold their pee until they are a little older like 9 months and beyond. I am crossing my fingers that something happens soon with him and he will start peeing in the yard. Unfortunately, just by neutering him, it won’t be an automatic fix

      1. Hi Hailey and Stephanie! This is a tough one, and I appreciate you replying to help out, Stephanie! I love when others respond to help because I certainly don’t always have the answer and sometimes it’s just a matter of trying several different things that have worked for others.

        The potty training does get easier as they get older and bigger since they can simply hold it longer. One thing you might check is how much water your pig is drinking at meals. I know it’s never popular to tell you to withhold water from a pig, but one issue we had was that Oscar was drinking a ton of water with his meals and causing him to have accidents. We would give him a big bowl of water with his meals, and he went back and forth between the bowls, resulting in him taking in a lot of water all at once. Then, after his meal, he would pee several times within the next hour and he was having significantly more accidents than at any other time of day. He just couldn’t hold it. Since it’s important for pigs to have access to water at all times and especially at meals, we wet down his pellets for his meal and then gave him his bowl of water immediately after he finished eating (we still do this…). This keeps his pellets wet to avoid any blockages but keeps him from doing the back and forth between bowls which is when he took in too much water at once. For some reason, having his water right after his meal instead of during helps keep him from taking in too much all at once. So, something to consider if you notice the accidents are happening more after meals.

        Other than that, when Oscar was young, I took him outside about every hour or two just to give him the chance to go. Even now that he’s over a year old, I still take him out every three hours. He just pees a lot, and he will go in the house if I don’t get him out in time. So, I’m sure you’ve thought of this and have checked it off of your list, but I just wanted to mention it in case your pig is just not able to hold it fully yet.

        Hope things improve for you both! I do think the marking the territory will improve with the neutering, but Stephanie also makes a good point about it not being an automatic fix. Potty training issues are tough and we’ve had our share with Oscar, so hopefully things get better soon! 🙂

  3. Our orson is about 2 months old he has a spot to go to in the house but id rather him start going outside because even tho we use pads the odor is unbearable, but every time i take him to go outside he screams he’s only been here for about 2 weeks maybe he’s still getting use to his environment

    1. Once he is neutered that smell will go away. My Renly still pees inside on pee pads, sometimes just on the floor where ever he is standing, and sometimes outside. He is 11 months and this pee thing is driving me CRAZY. He does what he wants. Grrrr

      1. In my experience, Oscar was quick and easy to potty train, but it took him a long time before he had it perfected. During that in-between time, we had some accidents. Usually, he wasn’t able to communicate to us that he needed to go outside and he just couldn’t hold it any longer. If you haven’t already, you might try potty bells for Renly. They didn’t work for us at first, but these days we keep them out and Oscar will “ring” them when he really needs to go, so overall I’m glad we have them. For what it’s worth, at about one year old, we hit a point where I didn’t stress at all about potty training, so hopefully you are almost there. Although, I’ve had those moments of panic and distress when he is just standing and then pees out of nowhere, so I feel your pain!

        http://lifewithaminipig.com/mini-pig-oscar-loves-potty-bells-too-much/

    2. Hi Markel! I completely agree with Stephanie on the smell. Male pigs who aren’t neutered have a strong and unpleasant odor, so that’s likely what you’re smelling. Once they have been neutered, that smell starts to go away. Oscar had a bit of that smell when he first came home as the hormones were wearing off after his neuter, and now I never smell it. Hope that helps!

        1. My guess then is that it’s just the hormones wearing off, and it does take some time for that smell to completely go away. In fact, a few weeks after we brought Oscar home, I took him to the vet to make sure he had been neutered by the breeder because the smell was still there. Our vet confirmed that he had been neutered and said to just wash his belly with a warm, damp washcloth when the smell bothered us until the hormones wore off. Male pigs are prone to UTIs so that’s another thought, but my guess here is that the hormones just haven’t completely worn off after the neuter.

  4. In a matter of days I had my pig box trained. I cleaned up his messes w paper towel and shredded the soiled paper towel and put some of it in his box to act as a reminder to urinate in the box. As he grew, I increased the size of his box. This worked very well and he was using the box independently, up until 2 days ago. For some reason, he decided to both poop and pee outside of his box when he feels like it (he still uses the box from time to time) and it seems more often than not. My question is, what could have caused him to regress? I turned a large kennel half into a litter box because I thought maybe his box was getting too small. I’ve used a scrub brush and vinegar to clean the area I have cordoned off for him. I’ve even went so far as to going back to using shredded bits of paper towel as a reminder, but he still continues to be stubborn? I’ve contacted the breeder seeking advice and she also told me she’s heard of this happening and she doesn’t even know why. Her advice thus far has been very credible so I trust she’s telling the truth. Do you or anyone else on here have any suggestions? I’ve literally went through 5 rolls of paper towel and 1/4 gallon of vinegar cleaning up the “accidents”, but I’m just at a loss.

    1. My guy’s troubles began right when he needed to get neutered AND he got a UTI right after AND super cold and wet weather kicked in. Apparently they don’t like going out in the freezing snow to do business. Although I will say that he has never Pooed inside. Ever. But pee is a different story. I have not been able to get it right after the UTI cleared up. He knows where he is supposed to go since he goes and pees in his boxes to get a treat sometimes. I make big fuss whenever he does right. He figured everything out about what gets him treats in a nanosecond but this one here doesn’t seem to matter. Sometimes I am sure he does it as an attention getting device, like when he knocks over stuff to make me look. I figured out that in his mind, he thinks that once he gets my attention, even if I’m upset, I’ll get over it and give him a treat. So I am super mindful that when he does something bad, he experiences a very unpleasant consequence only. I do not mean beat him. I mean, he gets absolutely no benefit and a very distinct sense of punishment so that there’s no confusion about “bad attention is better than no attention.” it is NOT. So there’s my saga now. I am glad your breeder is good. I don’t believe anything mine says anymore. Be well. Also, this blog rocks! Keep it up. I love hearing about Oscar. I also know that feeling about pigs vs. dogs. My dog will do anything for me simply because she wants me to be happy. This guy will do anything he wants so he can be happy. That’s the difference between pigs and dogs. Its a HUGE one and I don’t hear anyone talking about it- having a pig requires a signficant change in expectations.

  5. Hello ladies! I just got my first mini pig, Bacon Bit! He is only 5 weeks old and obviously still adjusting to us. I would love to get him potty trained ASAP, ( I’m sort of a clean freak ) what is the best way to start… littler box or outside, or should I say what is easiest?! We are doing the litter box with the soiled paper towels now. How long after he eats should I try to take him outside? Also, do you think he is too young to try the bells trick? I’ll apologize now… I have never owned an animal before, but I absolutely LOVE my Bacon Bit!! Even though he squeals like crazy when I pick him up. I know we will get there with the training, but any and all advice will definitely help. Thanks

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