Young kittens don't pee and poop on their own; mama cats stimulate them to go to the bathroom by licking them. If you're raising an orphan, you'll need to help them by stimulating them at each feeding.
1. stimulate the kitten with a soft, absorbent tissue
At each feeding, stimulate the kitten to use the bathroom. Use a soft, absorbent, disposable cloth (tissues or toilet paper work great), avoiding harsh products like heavy paper towels which could irritate the kitten's skin. While some people opt to wet the cloth with warm water, this step isn't necessary as long as the cloth is soft.
The body position for stimulating kittens can vary. Some people prefer to sit the kitten upright on a table, some prefer to hold them upright with their bottom facing the floor, and some prefer to turn them on their back. Find the position that works best for you and the kitten.
Hold the kitten steady with one hand, and gently rub the genital region in a circular motion with your soft tissue. The kitten should begin to pee. Continue to stimulate the kitten until she is no longer peeing. Depending on the kitten's age, this may take anywhere from 10 to 40 seconds.
If the kitten needs to poop, stimulate their bottom the whole time that they are pushing. Stimulating helps encourage them to use their muscles to pass stool, so continue until the kitten has finished her business.
2. KEEP a healthy schedule and monitor for symptoms
Stimulate the kitten at every feeding to help keep them on a healthy and regular schedule. Follow the weight and feeding chart to determine the frequency of feeding, and monitor the urine and stool for any concerning symptoms.
Pee should be clear/light yellow in color and should occur at every feeding. Bottle baby poop should be well formed, mustard yellow in color, and should occur at least 1-2 times a day.
If you're concerned about the frequency or consistency of the kitten's poop, please read more about healthy kitten poop and consult a veterinarian.
3. Clean them up
Don't miss this step! Even if the kitten's skin feels dry after peeing or pooping, you still want to wipe them down with a wet cloth or a baby wipe afterwards to keep them clean. Kittens have sensitive skin and are susceptible to urine scald, a form of moist dermatitis caused by urine residue that burns and irritates the skin. You can help kittens stay comfortable by gently wiping them down after stimulating.
If the kitten does get urine or fecal scald, keep the area clean at all times and apply a light ointment to help them heal.