I got my pair of young rats five days ago and am wondering when to begin litter training. Should I wait until they know me better? They are still somewhat shy and I worry that litter training will make them scared of me.
I think you're fine to go ahead and start. All litter training requires is moving poop to the litter box whenever you find it. I don't see why they'd be scared of you since you'll have little to no interaction with them while doing it.
I read that you are supposed to pick up a pooping rat and tell them NO and move them to the litter box every time they poop. That seems a bit invasive to me, when they haven't learned to trust me yet. The moving of the poop part I have been doing already.
Really? I've never heard that part. I thought rats pretty much figured it out on their own. I never actually see my rats pooping, they're just walking and then there's poop. I don't see how I could grab them in the process.
But if that's the route you want to try, then a couple of suggestions:
I think you should wait until the rats see you as the "big rat" of the family, then. As they are so new, it may freak them out. But continue moving the "raisins" in the mean time and maybe they'll figure it out anyway.
When they are ready, I've always heard squeaking at them is much better than using real words. Sure you sound ridiculous, but you're speaking a language they understand much better.