Can you Train a Cavalier to Use a Litter Box?

Potty training your Cavalier is one thing you must do to prevent your beloved Cavalier from peeing everywhere. Are there alternatives to dashing outside whenever you suspect ‘toilet time,’ or can you train a Cavalier to use a litter box?

Litter box training a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel is possible, but they are supposed to do their business outside. Cavaliers don’t like to defecate where they eat, so planning where to place the litter box is critical.

Most people automatically assume that a dog should go outside for their daily movement, which got me thinking why? Cavalier crazies like myself and my family treat them like our children, so why force them out? It doesn’t seem fair to me.

Looking into this topic, I discovered many reasons why someone would like to potty train their Cavaliers, and it made perfect sense.


Image of a blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy lying down in the grass

When your Cavalier is a cute little bundle of fur, they tend to have accidents around the house. It’s not their fault, they have to learn, just like human babies.

So instead of teaching them to hold themselves until you notice that they need to go, why not train them to use a litter box? No more waiting for mom or dad to pick up on their signs; they go when they need to.

Living in an Apartment

Image of high rised apartment buildings

Cavaliers are perfect apartment pets, as they love being around their humans. They are small, so they don’t take up a lot of room and don’t need enormous amounts of exercise.

When they desperately need to go outside, you must scoop them up and dash to the elevator double time. And what if the elevator is being used or is out of order? It’s a race against time down the stairs. All this spells a disaster waiting to happen.

A litter box in this situation also seems like the best solution.

Being Away from Home for a Short While

Things happen, don’t they? You need to dash out to the store, you quickly need to check in on a sick friend, or you get stuck in traffic.

It happens to us all, so we can’t be there for our furry friends 24 hours a day, although that would be heavenly for me.

In your rush, you forgot to see if your beloved Cavalier needed a pee before you went out, and you came home to an accident on the carpet. What else are they to do? They were desperate to go, and your life accidentally got in the way.

Another tick for the litter box.


Image of a blenheim Cavalier King Charles Spaniel poking its head out of the window of a moving car

We love to travel, and so does my Cavalier; her name is Lady. Visiting new cities or countries and staying in different accommodations is exciting.

But you managed to get your Cavalier into a nice routine at home. They know exactly where they are going to pee or poop, and it’s very familiar to them.

Now you are in a different place entirely, and their routine is shot to pieces. ‘Which door do I stand at to indicate I need to go out, and where do I go when I get out?’ I can imagine that’s what they’d be thinking anyway.

A litter box would be ideal; pop it in the car, or buy one when you get there if you forget it. They’re not that expensive to replace. Then you could have a home and a traveling litter box.

Older Cavaliers

Image of an elderly ruby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

As humans age, their bodies change, and we cannot hold our bladders for longer. Some folk are better than others, though; it’s just one of those things.

It’s the same for Cavvy’s, some are struck with a weak bladder, and others aren’t.

If your Cavalier has been trained to use a litter box from an early age, the problem has been almost eradicated before it starts.

Picture this, you are in another room when your Cavvy has the sudden urge to pee. No need to bark frantically for you to let them out before an accident happens; they can relieve themselves whenever they feel like it.

Cavaliers with Health Issues

Image of a stethoscope

This is something close to my heart, as recently, Lady was diagnosed with diabetes, which was terrible for the family, but most of all for Lady.

Before she was diagnosed, she drank a lot of water, which made her want to go to the toilet much more than normal. We were terrified to leave her alone, not because of the carpet, but because we didn’t want her holding herself and making her feel worse.

Throughout the night, we used to place puppy pads down where she slept in case of accidents. This must have been uncomfortable for her, so we would cover them with blankets to make it easier for her to sleep on.

A litter box would have been the ideal solution, as we had to wake several times in the night for her to pee.

Thankfully she is now on the correct insulin dosage and is much better. Her water consumption has reduced, and there are no more accidents.

Training to use the Litter Box

I have had many dogs over the years. I grew up with dogs and was responsible for their upkeep. So I have house-trained quite a few and found it relatively easy.

There are 3 simple rules to abide by:

  1. Always treat them for doing their business in the place you want them to
  2. Never scold them for doing their business in a place you don’t want them to
  3. Have a bucketful of patience

Although I have never trained a dog to use a litter box, I see it no different than training them to go outside. The principles are the same, just in a different location.

Remember that scolding your Cavvy after having an accident, doesn’t really have any effect, as they don’t know why you are shouting. And if they do understand, you are just making them fearful of you, and will be fearful of having accidents in the future.

When we were potty training Lady we used to place puppy pads in certain locations around the house, usually places that were far away from the back door, where she went out to do her business.

Puppy pads are similar to a litter box, so can be used for training, just ensure you keep it away from where they eat their food, and keep it clean. Although dogs can be dirty at times, they don’t like their poop near them when they are eating.

Types of Litter Box

Image of a litter box and scoop

There are many litter boxes for dogs, including more natural ones that don’t use litter. Here are a few different types you could choose from:

  • Traditional Litter Box
  • Pee Pad Holders
  • Plastic Grates
  • Real Grass
  • Synthetic Grass
  • Bark-Filled Litter Box
  • Disposable Litter Box
  • Self Cleaning Litter Boxes

For in-depth reviews of the different litter boxes available, check out K9 Of Mine. They have detailed a list of the 9 best dog litter boxes available.

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