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The Art Of Potty Training A Newfoundland Puppy

Potty training your new Newfie puppy can take some time. It’s important to set up a routine, reward system and stay patient!

I have forgotten how fun it is to potty train a Newfie puppy and in case you don’t know my humor, I say that with 100% sarcasm. 

Potty training a Newfie is, how should I say this, trying to say the least. 

Now I know why there’s a reason why I completely out potty training Sherman and Leroy. 

The only thing I can tell you with certainty is that Sherman was easier than Leroy and Leroy was nearly a year old before he was housetrained. 

At almost 3 weeks in I would say that Lou is going to fall somewhere in between and the major obstacle will be his love for water. 

I’m not complaining, I love that he loves water but finding a happy medium is going to be the challenge. 

12 week old brown newfie puppy learning potty training

So is Lou potty trained right now?


I think he’s getting the concept of it but he’s not potty trained and at 12 weeks old, I don’t expect him to be. 

Lou’s Pooping Potty Journey

Lou has picked up pooping outside pretty well. 

He’s only pooped in the house 5 times since we brought him home and he has yet to poop in his crate.

Most of the time, if he has to poop, he will quickly walk around the house and whine a bit. 

Sometimes he will walk to the basement door and whine. 

Sometimes, but not often, he will stop, squat and poop. 

I’ll take the blame for these because it’s likely that I’ve missed his ques. 

Thankfully, Lou is a clean pooper and he doesn’t step in it or try to play with it. 

He poops and walks away. 

Lou’s Peeing Potty Journey

As I mentioned before, this is going to take some time.

I would say 70% of the time, I know when Lou has to pee and I take him outside. 

The other times he just squats and pees and most of the time he doesn’t even stop to squat. 

Lou is a messy pee-er. 

He walks through it, lays in it and even splashes in it. 

newfie puppy has pee accident in the house

He does pee in his crate and he could care less. 

Lou is pretty well crate trained except for that part. 

He eats in his crate and sleeps in his crate but sometimes he’ll eat and pee at the same time. 

When he’s in his crate at night, Lou won’t alert me that he has to pee. 

He’ll just pee and go back to sleep leaving his body to absorb every ounce of urine. 

So he’s either soaked with pee or water.

I can’t tell at this point.

3 months old brown newfie puppy sitting outside

This has gotten better though because he was bone dry yesterday morning. 

Lou averages 4-5 hours in his crate overnight right now so I am happy with this progress. 

And yesterday he was in crate for 1 hour while I ran some errands and he was again, dry but I live day to day knowing that today I might not be so lucky. 

Most of the time when Lou pees it’s like he’s peeing a river of water. 

While I do limit his water intake, especially at night, he always has fresh water available. 

If Lou doesn’t have water available, he is not a happy puppy. 

Seriously, he won’t sleep unless he has water in his bowl in his crate. 

I can’t tell you if he drinks it or plays in it but it’s gone in the morning. 

When We Take Our Newfie Puppy Out To Potty

We take Lou out at all the recommended times + more. 

  • First thing in the morning
  • After naps
  • After he eats
  • After he plays
  • Before bedtime
  • Whenever he starts to pace

The biggest potty training obstacle, we’re having, besides his love for the water, is in the morning. 

This is after he goes outside in the morning but before he eats breakfast. 

Lou gets up at 4:30 am and eats breakfast at 7:30 am. 

newfie puppy napping on floor

There’s a small window of playtime and then he’s back to napping.

I am missing that window of taking him out after he plays and before he naps because I’m not a morning person and I am not 100% awake and alert. 

I don’t function until 7:00 am. 

So I have some to work to do there but every other potty accident is usually done while I’m going to the bathroom or throwing a load of wet towels into the wash. 

Potty Training Tools

I’m using the old standby of potty training tools-treats and praise. 

Loads and loads of happy and positive praise. 

I have pee pads but those were quickly demolished and I do have potty bells but I’m not sure if I’m going to use them or not. 

How Long Can Puppies Hold Their Bladder?

According to the AKC, you can use the month-plus-one rule to calculate on average how long your puppy can hold its bladder.

Take the age of your puppy in months and add 1.

This will give you the maximum number of hours that your puppy should be able to comfortably hold it between potty breaks.

So for Lou that would 3 months + 1 which equals 4 hours. 

3 month old puppy peeing on floor

Obviously, there are other things to factor like how much water Lou chugged, which is why I try to limit his water intake at night. 

Again, I limit but I do not eliminate water. 

Do Newfies Take Longer To Potty Train Than Other Breeds?

I don’t think anyone can tell you for certain if a Newfie is harder to housetrain over other breeds because it really depends on the individual dog. 

Newfies love water and they love to drink it, so that can be an obstacle for some owners and dogs. 

It also depends on the time of year you get a puppy. 

I’m thankful that Lou is a summer puppy because I’m sure he’s going to be a snow eater which is just going to increase his fluid intake.  

Finn, who is a Cardigan Welsh Corgi wasn’t a walk in the park to potty train but his messes were definitely smaller than a Newfie.

Finn was able to hold it longer at night, but he had more accidents in the house during the day. 

Finn also sleeps in our bed and does not stay in a crate. 

So it really all depends on your house rules and your dog. 

I can tell you that most of Lou’s accidents are due to me missing his signs or skipping a step, such as not taking him out after a play session inside. 

The Art Of Potty Training a Newfoundland Puppy

Art, in its broadest sense, is a form of communication.

It means whatever the artist, or in this case the potty trainer, intends it to mean, and this meaning is shaped by the materials, techniques, and forms you make use of, as well as the ideas you create to make it all come together.

It takes time, love and devotion to create a puppy that is potty trained and all that stuff above. 

My art is still a work in progress as I gather all the data and soak up all the pee. 

12 week old brown newfie puppy sitting

I’m not here how to tell you how to potty training your puppy or how old they should be when they are fully housetrained.

I’m not here to shame you if you’re struggling. 

I’m here to tell you that I’m up to my ankles in dog pee too. 

I honestly don’t know if my floors have ever been this clean or this dirty. 

I didn’t buy enough paper towels or floor wipes for this. 

My favorite sweatshirt smells like dog pee from picking Lou up. 

The bottom of my sweatpants dragged through pee today. 

It’s ok. 

There will be accidents and there will be setbacks.

We’ll get there. 

Potty Training Resources

I’ve gathered some resources for you in case you need some more tactics!

Housetraining Your Newf Pup – Newfoundland Club of America

How To Teach Your Puppy To Let You Know When He Needs To Go – Ian Dunbar

How To Teach Your Puppy Eliminate On Cue – Ian Dunbar

Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts For Errorless Housetraining- Dr. Linda Michaels

p.s. If you’re really struggling to potty train your Newfie puppy, take a step back and re-evaluate. Make sure that you’re really observing your puppy and that everyone in the home that is responsible for potty training is on the same page. If you suspect that your puppy is peeing way more than normal, straining to urinate or the urine has a strong odor, contact your veterinarian. 

p.p.s. Never compare your puppy to someone else’s puppy. Puppies grow and develop differently and what works for one may not work for others!



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Monday 11th of September 2023

This made me feel so much better! Thank you!


Thursday 3rd of August 2023

Finding this was so much needed. Peanut as he has been dubbed. Was very tiny 8oz or less when he was born, and weaker than everyone else. So I brought home and raised him. Rollercoaster of a begining. He is 12 weeks now and I was starting to think I lost my potty training touch ( he my first newf ????) everything you said is P to a T!! Thank you for the laughs it's pretty much what I say daily ???? and showing us that we are absolutely not alone in this. Oh and Peanut is doing absolutely amazing. He's the same size as his biggest brother and just to much sometimes and I can't help but laugh at him. Welcome to newf parenthood..


Wednesday 28th of December 2022

Thank goodness for finding this article. I was thinking I was doing something wrong, but it sounds like Lou and my gray Newfie puppy ‘pearl’ are long lost siblings ?! The pee situation has been hard to handle at 5 months - hoping we make some more progress! THANK YOU!

Susan Srachta

Sunday 11th of July 2021

To be fair, we were pretty lucky with our guy, as he figured out potty training really fast-- we only had one or two accidents after he was 12 weeks old. That said, the potty door bells were an absolute gift, literally (friends us them to us) and figuratively (because our boy loved using them). The only down side was that he also figured out pretty quickly that he got attention whenever he rang them. That sort of worked itself out over time.


Monday 12th of July 2021

Ahhhh....yes, they are definitely smart like that!


Friday 9th of July 2021

Thank you for sharing this! We are wrapped around the paw of our first Newf (now 8 months) and we’re definitely over confident from our potty training success with other dogs. He peed 400 times per day and we were constantly on high alert and still weren’t fast enough to prevent daily accidents. He’s now 100% trained but it took a loooonnnnggg time. Feels good to know we weren’t alone. Good luck! Lou is gorgeous ❤️


Monday 12th of July 2021

Hi Sarah!

They can certainly pee fast, can't they? Hahaha. Lou does that to me and when they're puppies it's hard to tell if they are just standing there or peeing a river.

Thank you for the kind words!

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