I have a video on My YouTube Channel showing that my cockatiel, Penny, is potty trained. I just got a comment asking me how I potty trained her. Rather than try to explain it in a YouTube comment, I’m writing this post and I’ll put a link in my YouTube comments.
Warning! This video shows a cockatiel going potty:
I have had dogs ever since I was a grownup. When I got my first couple of birds about nine or so years ago, the “poop issue” was not fun. I just thought I would try to potty train Rufus, like I have potty trained my dogs over the years. Rufus has big poops, so it was worth a try. It worked!
I have potty trained several of my parrot-type birds since then. This is a list from, biggest to smallest, of my pet birds I have potty trained:
- Rufus: African Grey Parrot
- Peanut Boy: Timneh Grey Parrot (sadly, he is no longer with us)
- Penny: Cockatiel
- Candy: Lovebird
Candy, my Lovebird, is about three inches tall. My hubby got her for my birthday over the summer. She was potty trained in just a couple of days. She spends the time out of her cage on my shoulder. When she has to go potty, she runs down my arm and jumps on the potty perch. Then, they runs back up my arm and jumps up on my shoulder. This is the best case scenario! So, there is apparently no parrot so small that it can’t be potty trained.
So, how do you potty train a parrot? This post assumes your parrot is already tame and likes to spend time with you. Make the potty training process just another part of spending time with them.
In this post, the word “parrot” means any type of hook billed bird. They are all just variations of the same type of bird.
Decide where you want your parrot to potty. I made Rufus a “potty perch” out of PVC that fits over the waste basket in the living room. Penny and Candy, who are smaller, use a store bought stand that I put on the arm of my lazy boy chair over a paper towel. Decide what is a convenient potty place, and then be consistent.
Two important things to remember are “Patience” and “Repetition”. Your parrot does not want to sit in a mess. Parrots are programmed to sit in a tree and be far away from the mess. Parrots are very intelligent birds. If you patiently repeat these steps with consistency, you most likely will eventually have a potty trained parrot:
- Step one: Observe your parrot. Every parrot does a certain thing when they get ready to potty. (Rufus wags his tail and Penny moves her whole body side to side.)
- Step two: When you notice your parrot is getting ready to potty, put him/her on the potty perch.
- Step three: Say “Go potty”, or something you decide on. Be consistent and always say the same thing. They have to go potty, so they will eventually.
- Step four: Tell your parrot “Good bird”, or something you decide on, after they potty. Parrots are social animals, and you are part of their flock. They want your approval.
- Step five: Take them off the perch and put them back on your shoulder, or wherever they spend time with you. This shows they were on the perch for one thing, only.
- Step five: Notice how often your parrot has to potty, and put them on their potty perch more often than that. (smaller parrots potty more often than larger parrots)
Do this all the time they are out of their cage and with you. With patience and repetition your parrot will eventually associate the words “Go potty” with the potty perch and the act of going potty. Keep trying and don’t give up! You will be surprised what your parrot can learn if you give it a chance.
Good luck! Please report back with your progress.