Although you might think that training a cat to use a litter box is similar to house training a dog, that's not actually the case: Cats are naturally inclined to eliminate waste by pawing through a sand-like substance in a private location. Most of the problems people encounter when litter training a cat are man-made. A clever kitty might not want to use its litter box if its owner chooses the wrong type of litter, doesn't provide enough litter boxes, doesn't clean the box properly or places it in the wrong location. Fortunately, that last problem in particular is easily solved with some feline-human compromise.
First and foremost, remember to place your cat's litter box in a safe area that can be reached easily and quickly. Although you might want the box to be out of sight (and smell), it's very important that the box is accessible to your cat. The best place for a litter box is a clean, quiet and low-traffic area where the cat feels it has privacy. Depending on the layout of your house, a quiet corner in a family room or a nook in a spare bedroom might fit the bill. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), cats are afraid of being ambushed, so avoid placing a litter box in a closet or an alley that's closed at one end -- in other words, don't make cats feel like they're trapped. They'll want to see what is going on around them while they're using the litter box. Also, make sure that one dominant cat isn't hogging another cat's litter box, as many cats won't share.
Although laundry rooms seem like good places for litter boxes, the noise of the washer and dryer might frighten a cat and cause it to seek out a quieter location in which to eliminate waste. And another thing to keep in mind: According to HSUS, cats are extremely sensitive to smell, so they won't want to use a litter box near their food and water bowls.
After adopting a new cat or kitten, keep it in a small space near where you intend to place the litter box until the animal is comfortable in its new living arrangements. Avoid placing the box in a location where the new cat or kitten will have to climb stairs, since that just makes the box more difficult to get to. You may even want to place a litter box on each floor of your home so they're always easily accessible. Consistency is important with cats, so be sure to keep the litter box in the same location. When the cat is ready to venture out of its small training place, rather than carrying it to its litter box, let it make its own path. This way, the cat will be able figure out how to get to and return from the litter box without a hitch.