Can You Potty Train a Bearded Dragon? Step-By-Step

Have you ever wondered, can you potty train a bearded dragon? I’ve often wondered if my scaly companions could learn to keep their tank cleaner by themselves. Every bearded dragon owner knows that maintaining hygiene in the habitat is critical for the health and comfort of these unique reptiles. But the question is, can you teach them to manage some of this on their own? 

Potty training may sound like something reserved for furry pets like dogs and cats. However, as reptile caregivers look for smarter ways to preserve a clean environment, they are exploring the possibilities of teaching bearded dragons bathroom habits.

Addressing this question isn’t just about convenience. It’s also about understanding the behavior of bearded dragons and enhancing their well-being. A clean habitat prevents the spread of bacteria and disease, making potty training potentially significant for a bearded dragon’s health. Nevertheless, patience and consistency are key, as reptiles do not have the same natural drive to please their owners as some other pets do.

Can You Potty Train a Bearded Dragon?

I’ve noticed a range of opinions among bearded dragon owners about the feasibility of potty training these reptiles. Some enthusiastic owners share success stories, boasting about their dragons going to the bathroom in designated spots. They cite consistency and patience as key elements in their training regimens. On the other side, skeptics argue that these creatures rely heavily on instinct and, thus, training may not always stick.

From what I’ve gathered, there seems to be a consensus that while bearded dragons can learn routines, they don’t assimilate training in the same way dogs or cats might. Their reptilian brains process habits differently, sometimes making training seem unpredictable. However, there’s hope in the form of positive reinforcement; offering treats and praise when they do eliminate in the right place could encourage repeat behavior.

Inhabitants of arid environments, these dragons naturally seek out optimal conditions for waste elimination in the wild. This instinct can work in an owner’s favor when setting up a designated potty area in captivity. With a proper understanding of their behaviors and needs, training a bearded dragon to use a specific spot may be feasible with time and effort.

Despite this potential, it’s crucial for owners to set realistic expectations. Bearded dragons might never reach the same level of potty reliability as some other pets. Yet with dedication, creating a cleaner, more manageable habitat is within the realm of possibility.

​On Potty Training My Own Bearded Dragons

​On Potty Training My Own Bearded Dragons

It’s important to note, that my two bearded dragons are not potty trained. However, they both go to the bathroom on a paper towel in the bottom of their tank that we then replace. I have not attempted to potty train them because honestly, I already find them to be low-maintenance pets and and what we do now just works easily for us.

I have, however, seen videos of those who have routines with their dragons where they let them out of their enclosure and then the dragon walks itself to a specific place, has its bowel movement, and then returns to it’s enclosure. Seriously impressive! 

I have noticed that bearded dragons are creatures of habit, but various factors depending on your specific dragon, their enclosure, your home and schedule can influence your need or desire to potty train. 

If your bearded dragon does not already have a particular place they like to go potty, or you have other issues surrounding cleaning up your bearded dragon’s poop, you may want to consider potty training. 

Free Roaming and Potty Training

If you let your dragon free roam around your house, you may really be interested in potty training. Honestly, even when our dragons are out of their enclosures, they have never relieved themselves in the house. I’ve found that they tend to have their own routines, and prefer to use the same spot of the tank every time they go, so I think they don’t want to go when they’re out. 

That is my experience though, and all beardies have their own personality so this could vary.

Step-by-Step Guide to Potty Training

Based on research, I have gathered that you can in fact train these intelligent animals to relieve themselves in a certain place. If you are a new owner, I recommend spending the first couple of weeks simply observing your bearded dragon’s behavior, learning their body language and allowing them to adjust to their new environment. 

Here is a guide to potty training in steps based on the main methods used throughout my research:

  1. Observe Your Bearded Dragon’s Habits: Notice when and where your pet tends to relieve itself. Most reptiles choose a particular spot. This information will be critical in the following steps.
  2. Select a Designated Potty Area: Based on your observations, establish a specific spot in the habitat for your dragon to use. Ideally, select a corner far from the basking and feeding zones.
  3. Introduce a Potty Substrate: Place a distinct substrate, like reptile carpet or paper towels, in the chosen potty area. Different textures can signal to your dragon that this is their bathroom.
  4. Encourage Use of the Potty Area: Gently guide your bearded dragon to the potty area after meals and naptimes—common times they may need to go.
  5. Maintain Consistency: Keep the routine consistent. Direct your dragon to the potty area at the same times each day. Consistency is key for forming habits, just like you would take a puppy for potty breaks.
  6. Reinforce Positive Behavior: Reward your pet with treats and affection when it uses the potty area correctly, teaching them that this is a positive experience. Positive reinforcement aids in learning.
  7. Clean the Potty Area Regularly: Immediately remove waste to maintain cleanliness and prevent your dragon from avoiding the area due to unpleasant smells. Beardies are generally clean animals and don’t want to go in a spot that is already dirty.
  8. Be Patient: Understand that training may take time. Each bearded dragon is unique, so patience is paramount during the process of potty training.

Creating the Right Environment for Training

To foster a conducive environment for potty training your bearded dragon, I recommend starting with a clean and orderly habitat. Select a specific area within the bearded dragon’s enclosure to serve as the dedicated ‘bathroom.’ Like my dragons, they may have already chosen this themselves. Bearded dragons often choose a particular spot for their waste, so observe your pet and note its preference. Once established, place a distinguishable substrate, like a piece of reptile carpet or a tile, in this zone to signal its purpose. Avoid using sand or loose materials here, as they can be ingested and cause health issues.

I also suggest keeping the feeding and basking areas separate from the location chosen for waste elimination. Bearded dragons are less likely to relieve themselves where they eat or  bask. Consistency is key, so always return your pet to this designated area after meals and during their regular bathroom times, which typically follow heating periods. By maintaining this routine, you reinforce the behavior, and your bearded dragon will start associating this specific area with going to the bathroom. If you’d like, you can line this area with a reptile-safe substrate. We just use paper towels, easy and we always have them.

Lastly, cleanliness is paramount. Remove waste promptly and disinfect the potty area to discourage bacteria growth and maintain a healthy environment. A hygienic environment not only promotes health but also reinforce your reptile’s potty training by keeping the designated area clearly marked and uncluttered by debris.

Maintaining Hygiene Post-Training

After your bearded dragon has mastered potty training, maintaining a clean environment becomes streamlined, but still requires attention. Here are some habits of proper training:

  • Stick to a Schedule: Consistency is key; clean the designated potty area immediately after use to prevent smells and maintain sanitation. This routine discourages your dragon from choosing other spots to relieve itself. 
  • Monitor Their Diet: A well-regulated diet contributes to predictable bathroom habits, making cleaning schedules more effective. For example, if they are on a regular schedule of eating at or around an exact time each day, their bathroom habits will stay consistent as well. 
  • Regular Habitat Checks: Inspect the entire habitat daily for any missed spots to preserve hygiene standards. 
  • Use Appropriate Substrates: Substrates that are easy to clean and replace, like newspaper or reptile carpet, should line the tank’s base to simplify the cleaning process.
  • Disinfect Regularly: Weekly, remove and disinfect all items within the habitat. Using reptile-safe cleaning solutions ensures your dragon’s home is free of harmful bacteria.
  • Ventilation Matters: Ensure the tank is well-ventilated to dry out any damp areas quickly, as these can become breeding grounds for bacteria. 
  • Health Checks: Pay close attention to your bearded dragon’s waste to catch early signs of health issues, which can impact tank hygiene.

Maintaining the cleanliness of your bearded dragon’s habitat post-training is straightforward if these habits become part of your regular pet care practices. Not only does this promote a thriving environment for your pet, but it also simplifies your role as a responsible pet owner.

Healthy Habits Beyond the Tank

Integrating potty habits with handling and free-roam time for bearded dragons requires consistency and patience. Start by establishing a routine: take your bearded dragon to the designated potty area immediately after removing them from their tank, particularly after meals when they’re most likely to need it. Observe their behavior for cues such as shifting or digging, which can indicate they’re ready to go.

Maintain this routine every time you handle your bearded dragon to help reinforce their potty habits. Make certain they’re comfortable with the designated area outside the tank and reward them with treats or affection for successful potty use. This not only helps reduce the cleaning load in their habitat but also promotes healthy hygiene practices during handling sessions.

Watch out for accidents during free-roam time. If they do happen, gently guide your bearded dragon back to the correct spot to remind them of the desired behavior. Bear in mind that repeated practice is key, and with time, your pet should adapt to using their potty area reliably, even outside the tank. This diligence pays off, resulting in a more hygienic environment for both you and your bearded dragon.

Understanding Bearded Dragon Behavior

Bearded dragons display a set of instinctive behaviors and habits that impact their waste elimination routines. Observing them in their natural habitat sheds light on these behaviors, which I find crucial while considering potty training. In the wild, these reptiles often choose a specific spot to relieve themselves, a behavior that simplifies potty training efforts for owners. They typically seek an area away from their basking and feeding zones to maintain cleanliness and reduce the spread of bacteria within their environment.

Another observation is their preference for consistency, which benefits the potty training process. I’ve noticed that once a bearded dragon selects a spot, they tend to return to it, displaying remarkable spatial awareness. By capitalizing on this habit, owners can encourage the reptile to use a designated bathroom area within their habitat. Understanding and acknowledging these natural tendencies is the first step towards successful potty training, directly influencing their sanitation and the overall cleanliness of their enclosure.

Current Practices in Bearded Dragon Hygiene

Many bearded dragon owners have adopted a straightforward routine for managing their pets’ waste. This typically involves lining the bottom of the habitat with paper towels, which readily absorb urine and can be swiftly disposed of once soiled. Bearded dragons often relieve themselves on these towels, and we take care of the mess by simply replacing them. This method is favored by owners for its simplicity and cost-effectiveness, as paper towels are widely available and relatively inexpensive. Moreover, frequent habitat cleaning is an essential part of this hygiene routine. Owners commit to regular tank maintenance, removing waste promptly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and to maintain a clean environment for the health and comfort of their bearded dragons.

Wrapping Up: Sparkling Tanks, Happy Dragons

Potty training a bearded dragon is more than just a neat trick; it’s an investment in your pet’s health and your convenience. I’ve found that consistent and patient training can lead to a cleaner habitat, which directly impacts the well-being of these reptiles. Offering them a designated bathroom spot can reduce the spread of bacteria and the risk of disease, ensuring they live a healthier, happier life.

For owners who choose to potty train, the payoffs can be significant. You can avoid the unpleasant smell that can arise from soiled substrates. Instead, you can be rewarded with a low-maintenance care routine, giving you more quality time to bond with your scaly companions. 

In conclusion, the journey to potty train a bearded dragon might require effort and dedication, but the end results — a pristine tank and a thriving pet — can be truly worth it. Embracing this challenge could also foster a stronger bond between you and your reptile, and is a testament to the extraordinary potential of these intelligent creatures.

More Bearded Dragon Posts You May Like:

What Can I Use to Clean My Bearded Dragon Tank?

Can You Bathe a Bearded Dragon? The Ultimate Guide to Beardie Bath Time

How Can I Get My Bearded Dragon to Poop? Simple Solutions

Best Bedding & Substrates for Your Bearded Dragon

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