GTA Aviary - Toronto Area Parrot Breeder

Parrots are the only pets that can actually say "I Love You"

Potty-training Your Bird

Tired of bird poop on your shoulder? Love your bird but wish that, aside from installing a volume control, that you could install a poop control too? But you CAN potty train your bird.

The trick is to get in the habit of picking up the bird every few minutes, as they go as often as once every few minutes!  You really have to learn to watch your bird to figure out the timing  and then hold it over the appropriate object (newspaper, trash can, cage, whatever), repeat a simple phrase, and wait for the "plop." Then, praise the bird profusely and give it back its previous perch.

Here are some tips:


  • Birds usually get antsy just before they want to go. A cockatiel on your shoulder might start climbing down, for example.
  • RIGHT before going, most birds do an odd little squatting or backing-up motion. You can sometimes (not always) interrupt the bird long enough to pick him up and get him over something more appropriate than your table or your shirt.
  • Don't use a key phrase common to daily language. One article in BIRD TALK mentioned how this can cause social embarrassments....
  • Be consistent.
  • It may be hard to keep the bird over the trash can ... they often really don't want to stay there. Be patient, and don't force the bird to sit there longer than seems reasonable (certainly don't hurt him!). Try again in a minute or so, though. Also check your shirt or the floor to see if the bird went while you weren't watching.
  • Some birds have a stronger instinct than others. Lovebirds, for example, seem to have have more of a "don't poop on the human" sense than cockatiels.  But remember all birds are still individuals.
  • One idea: some birds might possibly cue off a particular object beneath them. In other words, you MIGHT be able to teach your bird to poop over a bit of kleenex (for example) but that means anything that looks like that will probably become fair game.
  • When uncovering the bird cage in the morning, try waiting until the bird poops before letting him out (though in the morning, there may be multiple large "presents" waiting to come out of the bird). Make sure to open the door very soon after the act, or else the bird has no reason to associate the action with the result.
  • Likewise, you may try waiting until the bird poops to let him out of his cage at other times of the day. The bird may start associating the cage with pooping, especially if you use a key phrase, and also if...
  • ...You try putting the bird periodically on/in his cage and refuse to pick him up again until he poops (it helps to wait til you know he's due to poop to do this, and use that same silly key phrase). Again, this must be done cause-and-effect style, and the hope is that the bird realizes that pooping in/on the cage is a Good Thing(TM).
  • BIRD TALK warns against getting a parrot so well trained he doesn't poop without a command -- that's just bad for his health. Expect a few messy shirts, tables, chairs, etc. -- don't expect perfection!
  • It might take only a few days for some birds ... or it might take weeks! In the long run, it usually is up to the instructor's patience and persistence.
  • If potty training is too frustrating for you and the bird, it may be just best to live with the occasional mess rather than get everyone upset.
In any case, those are the basics! Remember, take it easy ... birds aren't THAT instinctively into the potty-training business. There will always be mistakes usually caused by an inattentive human who didn't read his bird's body language, or who forgot how long it had been since the last birdie potty session. But still, in good cases, the mistakes can go down by nearly 90% or more ... and wouldn't that be great?

Teaching Your Parrot To Talk

Most people only think that African Grey Parrots, Cockatoos or the larger Macaw Parrots are the only parrots that can talk. This is incorrect! Any parrot can learn to talk! All they need is the proper instruction.


Did you know that if you show enthusiasm over each phrase that you teach your parrot, he will pick up on your excitement and want to learn those funny sounds too?

When your parrot is ready to learn something, you'll see him stop and stare intently at you. His pupils will change as you speak or whistle. Try writing up a list of a few words, sentences, or even sounds that you eventually want your parrot to learn and recite them to your parrot whenever you remember. It is always best to repeat words with the same actions or at the same time of day, such as "Good Night" every night before you put your Parrot to sleep.

Keep in mind that you should always have a conversation with your Parrot rather than just talking to your Parrot. Try not to repeat a word over and over again, but instead have a chat with him. Describe to your Parrot what you are doing and always ask him what he is doing too. Remember to say hello when you come home and good bye when you leave for the day. Tell him you are going to work when you leave for work, tell him you're home when you return and ask him if he wants a grape when you are giving him a grape.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to impress your friends and family members? Can you picture the looks on your friends' faces when they hear your parrot talk?

When teaching your parrot to talk, keep in mind that most of the larger handfed parrots, like African Greys, Cockatoos and Macaws may live up to 70 years or longer, if given a good diet and proper care. What sounds do you want to hear for the next seventy years? Obviously, if you don't like opera, then don't teach it to your parrot. A popular song or catchphrase today might be out of style tomorrow.

Be you careful when you speak in front of your Parrot.

Be careful of profanity, too. Many Parrots have had to find new homes because of their profane vocabulary, which is unfair to the parrot since he probably learnt those words hoping to please his owner in the first place!

Another tip to remember when you want to start teaching your parrot to talk is the location of his cage. Always place your parrot in a setting where he can learn from people, such as in the living room or family room. If your Parrot is in the company of good conversation and there is a lot of good stimulation as well as the right environment, then you will have a talking Parrot in no time!

Did you know which Parrots talk the most and which Parrots are average or poor talkers?
Best Talkers
African Grey parrot, Amazon Parrot, Indian Ring Neck, Blue & Gold Macaw, Umbrella Cockatoo, Rose Breasted Cockatoo
Average Talkers / Have a clear voice
Parakeets, Eclectus Parrot, Conures, Budgies, Cockatoos, Hyacinth Macaws
Poor Talkers / That scream more than talk
Scarlet Macaw, Lovebird, Quaker Parrot, Female Budgies, Female Cockatiels

Create an environment when you teach your Parrot to talk.

Remember when teaching your Parrot to talk, it is crucial that your Parrot only hears you. Do not have the TV or radio on as this type of noise can be very distracting. Always try and choose a time of day when you and your Parrot can have each other's undivided attention. Training a Parrot to talk this way is much easier and faster for both of you!

So if you are really interested in teaching your Parrot to talk and want to show him off to the rest of the world, then signing up for our course will be a surefire way to guarantee your Parrot's talking success!

By spending the time training your parrot, she will love you more than ever, and be happy to talk with you!