Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Potty Training Your Cockatiel

Cockatiels are awesome pets, but their one downfall is the fact that they poop everywhere! Cockatiels actually poop about every 15 minutes. Therefore, if you have your bird out for 1.5 hours there will be 6 poops you will have to clean up from the floor, your shoulder, or some other random surface.

I personally have gotten very tired of cleaning up Loki's poop. Its very annoying that when I want to sit on our new suede couch with her I have to put an old bed sheet down to prevent poop from staining it.

I want to be able to take her out without worrying about her pooping on something.

Birds are extremely intelligent animals and I figured if you can teach them to talk, you could probably potty train them.

I started investigating this online and found numerous sites and blogs explaining how to potty train your cockatiel.

Potty training a cockatiel is actually very similar to potty training a dog:

  1. Learn and anticipate when the animal has to go to the bathroom.

  2. Take the animal to the right spot everytime you think it has to go.

  3. Wait till the animal poops and then repeat a key phrase each time.

  4. Praise the animal profusely after.

The main difference between potty training a dog and potty training a cockatiel is that birds go poop more frequently than dogs.

Steps to potty train your cockatiel:

  1. Pick your cockatiel up every few minutes, right before it is about to poop (you need to learn the signs for this).

  2. Hold it over its cage, a trash can, a newspaper, or whatever else you want it to poop into.

  3. Repeat a simple phrase and wait for the bird to go.

  4. Praise the bird profusely and then place her back on her perch.

Tips for potty training your cockatiel:

  • Signs your bird is about to go include: the bird becomes antsy and makes a little squatting or back-up motion.

  • Use a unique, but simple phrase (Do not use a common daily phrase).

  • Be consistent

  • In the morning, wait for the bird to go then quickly take her out so she learns to associate the action with the result of coming out.

  • The magazine, BIRD TALK warns against getting your bird so well potty trained that she only poops on command, which is not healthy for her.

  • Each individual bird is different, it may take a week or it may take much longer.

  • Remember PATIENCE is key.

There may still be occasional mistakes since potty training is not insticntive in birds as it is in dogs.

However, with potty training you can cut back on 90 percent of mistake poops. This makes everyone happy.


  1. Thanks heaps! you really helped me out! i have not got a bird yet but i am saving up for one. on my pocket money it WILL take me a long time!!!!! but my mum says i have to know EVERYTHING about the Cockatiel:) but im willing to do everything it takes to get an Cockatiel! so thanks heaps for helping me out! this is the site i have been looking for :)

  2. Thank you for posting this, it's worth the time to do this, I love to take my tiel out of her cage but hate the poop gifts. lol I will get on this right away.

  3. Great post !

    I recommend visiting http://www.cockatielcenter.com for more info about these amazing animals !

  4. Having a potty trained bird makes all the difference in the world. I plan to start the training as soon as my baby cockatiel goes in his cage . Thank you for the very consise instructions...