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How to Teach a Pet Opossum to Use a Litter Box

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Small animal corner litter box

  • Litter or bedding for litter box

  • 1 to 4 large litter boxes

  • Puppy pads

  • Unscented cat litter, or litter made from wood pellets, recycled paper or corn cobs

How to Teach a Pet Opossum to Use a Litter Box. Whether you've just adopted a short tailed or a Virginia opossum as a pet, you can train your opossum to use a litter box. Both opossum species are clean animals and both tend to choose designated areas to defecate and urinate. These qualities make litter box training easier to accomplish. Read on to learn more.

Training a Short Tailed Opossum

Purchase a corner litter box made for a ferret, rabbit or other small animal. You can either buy special litter to fill it with at the pet store, or you can use your opossum's regular bedding.

Allow your short tailed opossum to settle into her cage for a day or two rather than attempting to litter box train her right away, if she's a new addition to your family.

Watch which corner he chooses to urinate and defecate in. It's usually the corner furthest from where he sleeps, but your opossum may have his own quirks.

Place the soiled litter from that corner into the litter box. Move the litter box into the corner, flush against the cage walls. Fill the litter box with additional litter.

Change the litter box entirely every few days to ensure that your opossum continues to use it.

Keep the cage door open so your opossum can return to use her litter box when she's out of her cage.

Training a Virginia Opossum

Buy large cat litter boxes with low sides or with ramp entries. You need between one and four, depending upon how much access to your house your opossum has.

Put your opossum in a part of the house he'll always have access to, preferably where his bed is located. If this area doesn't have linoleum or other easy-to-clean floors, you need to place a puppy pad in every corner, including where furniture creates corners. This is optional if you don't mind cleaning your floor.

Watch where your opossum chooses to urinate and defecate. Most pet opossums choose corners and usually won't walk very far to find a good place. However, once they establish a corner, they're likely to return to it.

Clean up the corner and place the puppy pad in the bottom of the litter box after removing any solid waste. Shred puppy pads to fill the rest of the litter box.

Repeat Steps 4 and 5 if your opossum insists on using additional corners. Place additional litter boxes in other areas of the house to avoid accidents.

Praise your opossum whenever she uses her litter box. Rely primarily on verbal praise, but offer your opossum a treat if you think that may help her associate her litter box with positive things.

Fill your opossum's litter boxes with regular, unscented, dust-free cat litter or wood, recycled paper or corn cob cat litter once he's using them on a regular basis.

Scoop out all litter boxes daily, and change the litter entirely every 1 to 3 weeks, depending on how much use each individual box gets.


  • The Virginia opossum is also known as the North American opossum, and is the common wild opossum of North America. Your opossum needs her own litter box, or she might not use it. Don't expect her to share with your cats. Some opossums can learn to use the litter box without the use of puppy pads. If you don't have puppy pads, you can try using litter immediately. Pet opossums may not always use their litter boxes, especially if they have to travel very far to get to one. However, they're clean animals and prefer to use a litter box once they're trained.


  • Only let your short tailed opossum out of his cage if you've opossum-proofed the area and know that he won't injure himself or get lost. Even in an opossum-proof area, always supervise your pet to ensure that he's safe. Never yell at your pet opossum if she has an accident. Instead, gently take her to the nearest litter box to remind her to use her boxes.