Parrot Potty Etiquette
Parrots are not the neatest creatures on earth but they can be trained to go potty by recognizing the words you use and then rewarding them with a treat. You choose which words you want your bird to understand as the “potty command”. My husband uses the question, “Wanna go poo poo?” and Alex, our African Grey Parrot, is put on his portable perch and does the “Parrot Potty Dance” and is rewarded with a treat. The treat for him is more time and attention on his favorite person’s knee. Or it can be a food or toy treat. Alex’s favorite treats are: cashew nuts, popcorn, bananas, and crackers.
The results of his potty dance are easily swiped off the easy to clean perch with tissue. Much better than it hitting the floor your clothes when he is out of his cage spending time with his people.
Other possible phrases would be: “Do you want to go potty?” or “(bird’s name), time to go potty.” The use of his name will help him pay attention to your words and the sound of your voice. Birds will notice any emphasis or inflection you put on the words you use.
The “Parrot Potty Dance” is a cute way of completing a body function. He gets on his perch using a good grip and wiggles his lower body back and forth several times which helps his bowels to move. Sometimes he proudly looks down at his accomplishment.
To start the process so that eventually the parrot understands he will get a treat when he “goes”, use the chosen phrase when he goes potty on his own. This will help him associate your words with his actions. Also, go ahead and reward him as if he did it on command and soon he will make the connection.
Most parrots enjoy their people talking to them and including them in their daily activities. It is “flock-like” and pet birds do think you are their flock and if they see you as dominant or in charge (which is important for training) they will see themselves as being a part of your flock and will look to you as their leader. Birds of a feather do flock together.
Potty training your pet parrot will make it more enjoyable to have him out of his cage and with you in other parts of the house without too much worry of an accident. This gives you more time for fun interaction. Teaching your bird will give you a sense of satisfaction and will give your bird a sense of belonging because he will enjoy the extra attention and the extra treats.
Another benefit to potty training your parrot is that it helps the bird learn to wait. There will be accidents but the bird will want to please you and to get his treat so he will try and wait it out giving you a little extra time to get him on his perch. This is not out of the kindness of their heart so you won’t have to clean up the floor but so you will give them attention and some yummies.
Frequency can change for many reasons. If a bird eats more fruits or vegetables than usual, this will give him more fluids and he will go more often and it may be more liquid than usual too. Bird feces is usually green and white. The white is urine and it comes out with the green feces so there is only one function and that makes it easier to deal with also.
Foods can affect the color of the feces but if it is an unusual color or a different texture without cause then it’s a good idea to call your exotic pet veterinarian for assistance.
What to Do in Case of an Accident?
If your parrot does the “dance” on your carpet, clothing, or furniture use the fabrics’ care instructions quickly as possible. If you don’t have that information then swipe up as much of the poopy as you can without rubbing it in and then blot with warm water, blotting until it comes clean.
Our pet parrots love spending time with us and potty training them makes it easier and more fun to have them out and about in the house with us. The training is actually a fun process. Your parrot may even learn to speak the phrase himself and let you know he needs to go.