Calcitriol is a standard therapy for secondary hyperparathyroidism in chronic renal failure. We evaluated whether the effect of daily or intermittent calcitriol administration is more efficient in enhancing bone growth in renal failure with advanced secondary hyperparathyroidism in weanling 5/6 nephrectomized rats loaded with phosphorus to induce severe secondary hyperparathyroidism. The animals were treated daily or three times weekly with calcitriol for 4 weeks but the total weekly dose of calcitriol was the same. Although calcitriol increased the serum calcium, it did not lower parathyroid hormone (PTH) or improve tibia and body length. Animals with renal failure and advanced secondary hyperparathyroidism had decreased PTH/PTHrP, which was accompanied by an increase in the cyclin kinase inhibitor p57(Kip2). Calcitriol treatment upregulated the PTH/PTHrP receptor but also increased inhibitors of cell proliferation such as p21(Waf1/Cip1), IGFBP3, and FGFR3. Calcitriol also enhanced markers of chondrocyte differentiation, such as IGF1, Vitamin D receptor, FGF23, and bone morphogenetic protein-7. Receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappabeta ligand levels improved with calcitriol treatment but without changes in osteoprotegerin suggesting an enhancement of osteo/chondroclastogenesis and mineralization. Overall, both daily and intermittent calcitriol had similar effects on endochondral bone growth in phosphorus-loaded rats with renal failure.