As rewarding and as fun it is to have a bird around to take care of, the responsibilities can be quite burdensome. Just like any other household pet, you should look after your bird and then clean up after it whenever it makes a mess. Of course, the mess we are talking about here involves its droppings. It is never something ideal for anyone to clean bird droppings or any other sort of fecal matter.
However, while there is no way to “potty train” a bird in the same manner as you would with a cat or a dog, you can still potty train it in a different way by teaching it how to relieve itself in the right places so that all you have to do is to clean that area instead of cleaning an entire cage that is full of bird droppings.
Here are the steps you can follow to potty train your pet bird like a professional
Training yourself first by observing the bird
Before you get to train your pet bird, what you need to do first is to train yourself. No, we are not talking about potty training yourself. Instead, what we are talking about here is that you should actually try to train yourself by observing your bird and knowing its unique quirks and habits, especially when it concerns anything related to relieving itself.
On a daily basis, try looking at your bird and seeing signs that may point out that it is about to relieve itself. Different birds have different signals. Think of it is a pre-potty ritual for them. Some birds tend to change their posture, while others may change their facial expression. It is up to you to observe and determine the signals they use to show you that they are about to do their business.
When observing the bird, what you also need to take note of is how often it actually relieves itself on a daily basis. That way, you will be able to determine how often you should try to take it to the area where it should relieve itself. The main objective of keeping track of all of your pet bird’s pre-potty actions and behavior is to get to know more about the enemy (bird droppings) so that you would know how to approach the actual potty-training session. If you observe your bird religiously, you will begin to see a pattern, and you will be able to come up with a plan of attack when you are already training it how to defecate the right way.
Choose a go-to word
The go-to word should be what you would say when you want your bird to go do its business in the right potty area at the right time. This word can be anything as long as you use it regularly so that your bird actually gets used to the word as your signal for it to go to its duty in the right place at the right time.
Find a good potty area
Next up is to find a good spot to serve as your bird’s favorite potty area. This spot should be located in the bird’s cage and must be an area that is easy to clean. The reason why there should be a potty area is that you would not want your bird to just do its business anywhere in the cage to the point that it will dirty up its entire house. You also won’t want to clean and disinfect the entire cage if your pet bird defecates just about anywhere.
The potty spot will make things easier on your part because all you have to do is to clean that area every time your bird defecates. In some cases, you don’t even have to clean it at all if you placed a few pieces of paper plates or a basket or a bowl over that area so that all you need to do is to remove them whenever they get filled up. As long as your bird defecates in only one area, it makes everything easier on your part.
What is important here is to make sure that you stick with that area as much as possible because you do not want to potty train your bird all over again. You also do not want to have multiple potty areas because it defeats the purpose of actual potty-training your bird to do its business in only one spot inside its cage.
Now comes the hardest part of the potty-training. This is where you would need to put in a lot of time and effort because it is actually the most important part of your bird’s potty training. What you need to do here is to bring your bird to the designated potty area, use your go-to command word or phrase, and let it do its business. Repeat this as much as you can so that your bird will get used to it.
This is where your knowledge of your bird’s behavior and habits come in. What you should do first is to observe your bird’s actions to see whether or not it is giving off signs that it is about to defecate. When you see the signs, take it to the potty area and use your command word while it is trying to defecate. You can also check how frequently it needs to go to the toilet. For example, if it defecates every 10 to 12 minutes, you can use that to your advantage by taking the bird every 10 to 12 minutes to its potty area and then use your command word to try to make it do its business.
The difficulty here lies in the fact that you would have to do this over and over again for maybe a couple or so days until your bird masters the command word and until it no longer needs you to be around for it to go to its potty area and then do its business there. This will take a lot of time, effort, and patience on your part. And even if you do take your time to try to train your bird, there is no guarantee that it will work.
The final piece that completes the puzzle is the reinforcement. Psychologically speaking, positive reinforcement is one of the reasons why humans and animals do certain things in the first place. For example, we study hard or do our jobs well because we know there is a reward or incentive waiting for us in the end. This is the same for animals. When your pet bird knows that there is a reward waiting for it, it will most likely repeat the act over and over again until it gets burned into its very psyche. You can use words of praise or yummy treats to try to reinforce your bird’s actions whenever it does its business in the right potty area. Treat this as some sort of a reward that will encourage your pet bird to do it all over again out of the thought that it will get a treat if it defecates in the right place at the right time. Do this repeatedly until your bird no longer asks for treats or words of praise.