This. Like all topics regarding parrots is a touchy subject. Some believe that potty training your parrot will harm them causing them to hold their poop until you give the approval to go. I say yes, this is possible if you train your parrot to only go on command. I don’t train them by using a word or even a cue. All my parrots have the free will to go when they please just like my kids. I don’t expect my kids to hold it until I say its okay to go, so why would it be any different for my parrids.
I think this is an issue because people forget how intelligent these creatures are. They are, after all little toddlers. So how do I train a parrot to be potty trained? My answer is very simple, the same way you train a child.
You watch when your parrot goes. So let’s say at 10:15am he used the potty wherever he was sitting. 15 minutes later he went again and then 15 minutes later he went again. At about 13 minutes, I’m going to ask the parrot to step up and bring him to where I want him to go, keep him there until he poops, make up a big commotion and give him a treat. Remove him from that perch and do it again right before he hits the next 15 minutes. So what I’m doing is bringing him to the designated spot at his timed intervals, praising and giving a treat. I still use the clicker as soon as he/she drops that poop, I click, praise and give a treat. This is the exact method I use for my kids minus the clicker hahaha. “Timed Potty Training“. I do this consistently every time the parrot is out of their cage until they start going on their own. I still click, praise and give a treat but I slowly diminish all three until the bird just goes on it’s own and comes back to resume the previous play/activity. If there are any accidents, just ignore it and resume as usual until the next interval. I find this method of potty training to be very successful just as it works for toddlers, it will work for a parrot. Please see below for our video from our Instagram page – feel free to follow us there also :).
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This way the parrot isn’t waiting for me to tell them WHEN to go, they go when they need to. This method just teaches them WHERE to go. So we teach our toddlers to use “The potty” and from there, the big toilet, this is no different except it’s not a potty, it’s a potty perch hahaha. Some people train them to go back to their cage and that is also perfectly fine as it teaches them that releasing in the cage is appropriate. I have never had an issue with any of the parrots stopping the use of their cage and waiting for me to let them out before they go to the washroom however if it is something you are afraid of than once they learn where to go, you can also praise them when they are in their cage and they release, so they learn that is appropriate too.
Next issue, what if you are on the road and you don’t have a potty perch? I, again have never had to worry about this because somehow they knew if I put them down on the floor that they were allowed to potty as long as it wasn’t on me. However to avoid them holding it in, once they are well established using the potty perch, ever so often you can use a word cue or hand signal to let them go poop. I do not recommend making it consistent as you don’t want them waiting for that cue before they go to the washroom but you want them to still associate it as one of the signals just in case you are on the road and don’t have the potty perch. This isn’t really a worry because this method doesn’t make them hold it for you, just makes them not potty on you!
For an example, I went out with Nyx, my black-capped conure (she was on the harness) and I realized damn, it’s been 25 minutes and I haven’t stopped for Nyx to use the washroom. Nyx usually goes every 14 minutes. So I stopped at a red light, opened my door, placed Nyx on the road, she automatically released herself, I praised her and put her back in the car, waited for the light to turn green and continued on our way. This was our first time in this situation and it worked out perfectly! We were out all day and no poop accidents. In this case, she held it until she was some place she could go but that is okay, just like when you are out and about and have to find a washroom before you can release yourself. As long as holding it in isn’t a habit, the fact that they do learn to, is a plus in my eyes.
If your question is how is your parrot going to always make it to the potty perch then I’m going to assume your parrot has clipped wings and if that’s the case, YOU will always have to bring them. The parrids I’ve potty trained are all fully flighted. I’ll be playing with them, not paying attention to the time and they will fly off, go to the perch and come right back to continue playing. This is just one of the many advantages to having a fully flighted parrot.
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