California Potbellied Pig Association, Inc
HOUSEBREAKING YOUR PET POTBELLIED PIG
By Chris Christensen
Fortunately housebreaking a potbellied pig is usually fairly easy. Pigs are by nature very clean creatures and would rather not go to the bathroom in their home. However, your home or somebody else’s home might be another question.
If your pig was not removed from its mother before six or seven weeks of age, it is probably already on it’s way to being house trained. It just has to learn your rules.
You on the other hand have to decide if you want a litter box in your house or if you want your piglet to go outside. Realize that if you have a piglet now it will eventually grow into a pig. You could well go from a litter box to a small plastic pool, especially if your piglet is a female. They have different plumbing than the males.
A few things about litter boxes:
1) Use pine shavings not kitty litter. Pigs tend to root around in their box and most kitty litter is less than healthy to inhale or eat.
2) Do not get overly efficient at cleaning the box every time it is used. If the floor next to it smells the same as the litter box does, the floor might be just as good a place to go potty.
3) Do not place the box in the immediate area where the pig eats or sleeps. They prefer to potty away from where they live. In fact if the pig starts going in an area other than the litter box, clean it thoroughly and then feed the pig something like air popped popcorn or unsweetened cereal in that area. Just sprinkle it on the floor, and your pig will soon think of it as an eating area not a potty area.
If you have a piglet and have it in the house, probably your only choice at first is a litter box, but as your piglet grows up, it would probably be best to introduce it to the great outdoors. It can still live in your house, but pigs should have outside time as well. The most successful way to do that is with a flap type (dog) door. (You will eventually need quite a large one.) It will let the pig decide where it wants to be and when. You will probably find that when the pig begins to have outside access it will choose to relieve itself in the yard in an area away from where it likes to hang out in the yard. This is usually no problem in that if your pig is eating a proper diet of potbelly pig chow, the waste will be relatively solid, odorless and easily cleaned up.
To get your pet to use the litter box or go in a specific area of the yard should be fairly simple. With a piglet picking it up and placing it in the litter box or potty area and then praising it and rewarding it with treats when it goes potty is fairly simple. The biggest problem, until the behavior is learned, is being present every time the urge to go potty strikes your piglet. When the pig is small and young its territory should be limited until it learns the rules, and as new areas are made available to it, there should be supervision. A new area is not an area that this pig considers its home. Its home was the old area, so pottying here may not be considered a problem to the piggy, especially, if it’s a long way back to the litter box. This also has to be considered when visiting others with your piglet. It might not relieve itself in its home, but this isn’t its home.
Correcting potty habits in larger pigs is a little more difficult. Again, being there and recognizing the signs that it is about to relieve itself are crucial. If you see your pig preparing to go where it shouldn’t, calmly and forcefully herding it to the proper place is necessary. If you can’t just approach your pig and nudge it to get it going where you want, you can try using a pig sorting panel to guide it.
(Kane Mfg. 18" Polyethylene Sorting Panel - http://www.qcsupply.com/50019-sow-mate-sorting-panel.html)
Also a portable hand vacuum cleaner would get one of our more stubborn pigs moving. Just click it on and off and approach the pig from the area you want it to move out of. Don’t use this if it terrorizes the animal. Our pig seemed to just find the sound annoying, and he slowly sauntered in the other direction.
Pigs are extremely sociable, enjoying good company,
even if it belongs to another species.