Potty Training: The first thing you need to understand is that potty training for a goat is not meant to be fool proof! Please don’t expect us to always go in a box when they have the whole world as our litter box.
We have the box or strawed corner in our barn. But because we live outside and are free to “go” anywhere, we certainly do. It is not like we are going to be out grazing or in the corral and run back to the strawed area!
However, when we are in the barn, we do go potty in the strawed corner and most of the time, we do “the raisins” there. Sometimes we just let them drop where we are eating or drinking.
Goats don’t always think about “the raisins,” because unlike with a dog or cat who has to squat or a horse who has to lift his tail, the raisins freely spill out while standing or walking. So give us a break! LOL!
So why did Mommy and Daddy potty train us? Because it is much easier to clean the barn when we potty and do most of the “raisins” in one corner when we are inside it at night. Also, we honestly do not like to potty on the bare, solid ground, because it splashes back up on us. That is why we are happy to have the area in the barn. See our tips below!
Our Thoughts on House-Training a Goat: Some people like to house train their goats. While this may be a personal preference, we believe goats should live in their natural habitat where they can roam and forage outdoors. They are also herd animals, so it is imperative they have at least one companion to run and play with.
In addition, goats have body temperatures that are made to live outside. Of course, there is nothing wrong with bringing them into a garage or basement when it gets super cold out or you have babies that need special care or a sick goat. Put the straw or box on a cemented or tiled area (rather than carpet). We aren’t always the best aim.
Most of all, be aware that if you do bring them into the house, such as a laundry area, they could be going from 10 degrees outside and into a 70 degrees inside (for example). That may sound great to us, but they can’t take off their coats like we do when we come inside. Moreover, their bodies may become accustomed to the warmth and have trouble readjusting when they go back out. Those are just our thoughts. We are not experts by any means. Please ask your vet for their opinion!
Tips on Potty Training in the Barn:
1) Follow your baby goat around often for a week or so. Say, “Go potty” when they potty outside on their own. Say, “Do the raisins” when they do the other (lightly rubbing above their tails so they make the connection). Then give them a scratch and say, “Good (boy or girl)! Good (name)!”
2) Put a box or have an area of straw in the barn. Our box has a wire bottom and we put sand on the ground under it to absorb the urine. But just a corner of straw or plastic litter-box can work too.
3) Pick up the baby goat, put him or her in the box and say “Go potty.” Pumpkin and Cookie did it the first time, which we have on video! And they go to their box regularly. You might have to put your hand on their chest to keep them from running off or scratch their tails to help them understand what you are asking. See video below.
4) After they go, hold their chest so the don’t hop out and say, “Do the raisins.” They don’t really know they are doing those, but they can learn to wait a bit before they hop out.
5) Always give them positive affirmations with a happy voice and scratches where they like them!
6) This whole concept works better when you don’t need bedding all over for warmth in the winter. When you have bedding or hay everywhere, it is confusing where to go … and we will think you just expanded our litter-box area. Maybe try having a different kind of bedding in the box or section, because in the winter, we do need the bedding to sleep on to keep warm. We have an igloo in the barn with bedding and sometimes we just can’t help but go there too. That’s just the way it i. We’re goats!
7) Have fun, be patient and don’t expect them to be perfect!
DISCLAIMER: We are not goat experts, trainers or veterinarians. Please seek advice from a professional.