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Sandra August 21, 2023

Potty Training A Parrot: DO's and DON'T's

Teaching a parrot to potty train, also known as "poop training," can be a helpful process to maintain a cleaner living environment for both you and your bird. Here's how you can go about it:

  1. Understand their natural behaviour: Parrots have a natural instinct to defecate frequently; approximately every 15-20 minutes, a parrot will poop! Understanding their natural habits will help you anticipate when they might need to go.
  2. Observation: Spend time observing your bird's behaviour to identify signs that they are about to poop. These signs might include shifting on their perch, extending their behind to prepare for the incoming poop, etc. 
  3. Choose a designated area: Designate a specific area where your bird can poop. This can be a perch, a newspaper-covered spot, or a training perch with a tray underneath. Place your parrot on this spot before you expect them to poop.
  4. Timing: Consider when your parrot will likely poop based on their daily routine. For instance, they often poop shortly after eating or in the morning (the biggest one of the day). Some people like to potty train the morning poop in the toilet or the sink, but I personally don't prefer this because I want to be able to see and inspect the poop to ensure it's healthy. 
  5. Verbal cues: Use a consistent verbal cue like "go potty" or "poop" every time you place your parrot in the designated spot. Over time, they may associate the cue with the action.
  6. Positive reinforcement: When your parrot successfully poops in the designated spot, immediately offer praise and/or a treat. Positive reinforcement will help them understand that using the designated spot is a good thing!
  7. Consistency: Be consistent in your approach. Place your parrot in the designated spot daily when they are more likely to need to poop.
  8. Accidents: Avoid scolding or punishment if your parrot poops outside the designated spot! This will happen, and it's natural! If you have a bird, you need to understand that a home with poops everywhere is part of the package! Simply clean up the mess and continue with the training process.
  9. Patience: Potty training a parrot takes time. Every parrot is different, and some may catch on faster than others. Be patient with the little cutie!
Complete potty training may only be partially possible, as parrots have natural behaviours and instincts that can't be eliminated. Additionally, consider consulting with an avian veterinarian or an experienced parrot trainer for personalized guidance based on your specific parrot's behaviour and needs.

It's not advisable to intentionally stop a bird from pooping or make them hold it. Birds naturally need to eliminate waste frequently, and forcing them to hold it in can lead to health problems and discomfort. Here's why you should not try to prevent a bird from pooping:

  1. Health concerns: Holding in waste can lead to digestive issues, such as constipation or impacted feces. These problems can cause discomfort, pain, and even severe health complications.
  2. Physical stress: Forcing a bird to hold in the waste can create unnecessary physical stress on its digestive system and internal organs, but mentally as well!
  3. Behavioural issues: Attempting to stop a bird from pooping or making them hold it can lead to behavioural problems and anxiety. Birds might become stressed, agitated, or even start plucking their feathers as a result.
  4. Negative association: If you punish a bird for pooping, they might associate pooping with negative experiences, which can hinder its potty training progress and even lead to fear or avoidance behaviours.
  5. Natural behaviour: Birds have a natural instinct to poop frequently due to their rapid metabolism. It's not a behaviour that can be completely controlled or suppressed without risking their health and well-being.
PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS! Instead of trying to prevent pooping, focus on positive potty training techniques. By providing a designated area for your bird to poop and using positive reinforcement, you can encourage them to associate the designated spot with positive outcomes.

If you're concerned about the frequency of your bird's poop or any changes in their droppings, it's a good idea to consult with an avian veterinarian. Changes in poop consistency, colour, or frequency could indicate underlying health issues that need to be addressed.