How to Potty Train a Newfoundland Puppy

Medium
3-6 Weeks
General

Introduction

Your Newfoundland puppy is only a tiny version of what he will become in the coming months. He is highly intelligent and learns most things by association in a relatively short period of time. 

When it comes to potty training, one thing you should know about your Newfie is that you should not scold him for going potty in the house, unless you see him doing it. If you do, he will simply see you as the person who yells at him. He will not understand you are trying to correct his behavior. You will have far more success with potty training when you work with your pup using positive reinforcement methods. 

Defining Tasks

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to teach your Newfoundland puppy that at no time is it okay for him to go potty in the house. He must learn that the only place he can go potty is in his designated area of the yard or while out for a walk. One of the most important parts of this training is to choose a command or cue word. One that everyone in your house will use to tell your pup it's time for him to go outside and go to the bathroom. Keep it simple, perhaps "Let's go potty or let's go outside." You can use anything, just stay consistent. 

Getting Started

Like most breeds, you can start potty training your Newfie at eight to 12 weeks of age. Which works out very well, as this is the period in which your pup's brain is developing at its fastest. This makes it a great time to teach him several commands beyond going potty outside. The idea is simple and the methods easy to follow, all you must do is remain consistent, work with your pup daily, and be patient. You also need:

  • Crate – To use for training and to give your pup a safe place to stay when you must leave the house.
  • Treats – You need plenty of these to give your pup as rewards for when he goes potty outside.
  • Leash – You need this to take him outside and to the place he can use as a potty.

The most important tool of all is patience, you should never punish your dog or scold him unless you happen to catch him in the act. Be patient, keep working on the training and he will soon figure out what you are trying to teach him. 

The Crate Method

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Step
1
In the crate
Place your pup in his crate with a bowl of water, a few toys, and a bed to lay down on. Every hour on the hour, open the door, put your pup on his leash, and take him outside while using your cue word. This will help him associate the cue with the action.
Step
2
The five-minute rule
If your pup hasn't gone potty after five minutes, go ahead and take him back inside and put him in his crate. Leave him there for an hour and then take him outside to his spot on the lawn. By now, he should have no problem going potty.
Step
3
When he goes
When he goes potty, be sure you praise him with an excited tone in your voice and give him a treat. Then take him back to his crate. The more excited you are, the more he will be convinced that going potty outside is a great idea.
Step
4
When he figures it out
Once your pup figures out that you want him to go potty in the designated area, he will do his best to make you happy by going in the right place.
Step
5
More time out
When your puppy starts to show you that he is figuring it all out, you can start leaving the crate door open and allowing him to enjoy getting out and stretching his legs around the room. Give him time to explore the room, in time he will see this as his "area", one he will not go potty in. Over time you should be able to open the whole house without fear of your pup going potty in the house anymore.
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The Pee Right Here Method

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Step
1
For this you need spray
Your local pet shop sells a spray that can be used to entice your pup to an area of your yard where he can go pee. The spray actually encourages him mark his territory, thereby going potty.
Step
2
Create the "pee zone"
Use the spray to create a potty zone in your yard. At first, it doesn't need to be a big area, just one that your pup can use whenever he needs to go, come sun, rain, snow, sleet, ice, or dead of night. You must never let the weather or time of day prevent you from taking your Newfie out--not only will this screw up your training, it will result in messes to clean up.
Step
3
Put your pup on his leash
Put your pup on his leash and take him outside using your cue words. Take him over to the marked spot and let him wander around for a little while. If after 10 to 15 minutes your pup has not gone potty, go ahead and take him back inside. But keep a close eye on him. At the first indication he might be thinking about going potty or in 15 minutes, whichever comes first, take him back outside.
Step
4
When he finally goes
When your Newfie finally goes potty, be sure to shower him with praise and give him a treat. This helps him to associate good things with going potty outside.
Step
5
Keep going
Keep working with your pup, slowly increasing the amount of time between potty breaks until he can stay in the house for hours without you having to worry about coming home to landmines planted all over your carpets.
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The Eyes on the Prize Method

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Step
1
Start with plenty of treats
If you don't already have a large supply of treats for your pup laid in, go the pet shop and pick up a generous supply of them. You are going to need a lot of treats by the time the training is over, and your pup is fully potty trained.
Step
2
Watch him like a hawk
Any time your pup is out of his crate, your job is to watch him like a hawk. If he starts to circle a spot on the floor, squat, lift his leg, or whine, you need to tell him "NO!" in a firm voice. This should stop him in his tracks.
Step
3
Right outside
Pick your pup up, put him on his leash, give the cue and take him straight outside to his designated potty area. This helps him associate the cue with the action and the final result, in which your pup goes potty outside.
Step
4
Give him time
At first, your pup might be a little confused, so give him plenty of time to get his focus back on the fact he needs to go potty. When he finally does, be sure to give him lots of praise and a treat.
Step
5
Time, it's on my mind
Or it should be on yours as you extend the time between trips outside. Just keep working with him and by the time he is six months old, he should be a master at letting you know that he needs to go outside and at using his designated area of the lawn as his personal potty.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Cinder
Newfoundland
12 Weeks
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Question
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Cinder
Newfoundland
12 Weeks

Cinder’s most prominent behavioral problem since we adopted her a month ago is peeing inside despite pur potty training efforts (we use the crate method.) She doesn’t seem to pee for the sake of relieving herself when inside, she pees in small amounts, almost as if she’s marking her territory or something. Do you have any tips on stopping this behavior?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Ellie, If she is having accidents even after pottying outside during the last hour, then she might be submissive peeing or have a medical issue. Many puppies pee to show that they recognize your authority anf want to make you happy. It often happens when you are too loud, rough, intimidating, or things get really exciting, like your arrival home at the end of the day. The goal with submissive peeing is to stay calmer and ignore your puppy when you first get home until they are calmer. As they get older if you prevent them from having too many submissive peeing accidents by keeping interactions calmer and gentler most puppies grow out of it. It could also be a medical problem like a urinary tract infection, called a UTI. A UTI could cause frequent small peeing accidents even when things are very calm. A UTI can be address by your veterinarian, typically with an antibiotic. There are other things that could cause similar symptoms that your vet could look into also. If you are not taking her potty every 1.5 hours when she is outside of the crate, she probably just needs to be taken outside more frequently while she is still learning to be potty trained, when not in the crate where she will hold it for 3 hours if needed. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Willow
Newfoundland
11 Months
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Question
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Willow
Newfoundland
11 Months

We got Willow 2 months ago when she was 10 months old. She was in a pen outside with her 3 sisters. I think we have been consistent enough that she is potty trained. However...at night she is in a crate on the main floor and we are upstairs. We have been minimizing stairs until her joints are fully developed. She wants to go out 2-3 times at night to go pee and/or poop or get a drink. I guess we shouldn’t let her drink on these trips. It is about 5 min between pee & poo. Then at day break she starts barking because it is time to get up. We would like to stop the midnight excursions and the get up barking. She likes her crate.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Barbara, It's great that he likes his crate. Take away all food and water 2 hours before bed and don't give it again until the time when you want him to wake up in the morning. At this age if you do that he should be able to hold it at least 8 hours at night. Give him three nights to adjust to no food or water (including treats - only give treats for pottying outside during the day), after three nights of taking him potty if he asks to go, ignore any crying that happens before it has been 8 hours since he last went potty. In the early morning when you take him potty, take him on a leash, don't let him play, don't give food, don't give water, and keep the trip super boring and calm. After he pees put him back in the crate and ignore any crying until it is the time you want him to learn to sleep until; at which time you can free him while he is quiet for at least a few seconds, and feed after taking him outside then. Make sure you are offering water during the day so he will drink what he needs to then - he should adjust to drinking more during the day to make up for not drinking at night after a few days, if it's being offered a few times throughout the day. Once he adjusts he is less likely to be as thirsty at night. Many puppies also think it's fun to drink water so will ask to drink for entertainment. If he is getting enough during the day and doesn't have a medical condition, he may be drinking for fun at night. Once he starts sleeping through the night better he will probably be able to make it 10 hours instead of 8, but if he wakes up after 8 hours and asks to go potty you can take him then... Just return him to the crate after and don't feed yet so his internal clock won't get used to waking up for the day at that time. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bay
Newfoundland
10 Weeks
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Question
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Bay
Newfoundland
10 Weeks

We take him out about every 2 hours or sooner and he knows to pee outside. Sometimes he goes on the pee pads if we get too busy and forget. Our problem is at night. I think we may be doing it wrong. We have a large area in a room that we have put a fence around so he has his bed and a good area to move around. Also some pee pads. We take him out at night before we go to bed and he does pee on the pads at night but he also tears them up and the area is a mess and smells of using because it's all over his area and his toys etc. We really don't want to take him out at 3am because he will get in the habit of that we think. What are we doing wrong. If he would just pee on the pads and leave them we would be ok I think.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
460 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rebecca, Set up an audio baby monitor next to a crate and crate him at night. He will probably wake up to go potty once during the night. When he does, take him outside on a leash - keep it super boring, don't talk to him, let him play after, give food, or do anything else fun...Think sleepy, quiet bathroom break. After he goes potty, put him straight back in the crate and go back to bed. For the first week you will probably have a lot of crying, and I know you will be tired taking him potty at night, BUT in the long run this approach tends to be WAY easier and safer. Because of his eventual size and age you absolutely need to stop using pee pads. Dogs that will be trained to potty outside shouldn't be using paper or pee pads past 7 weeks of age of it can lead to accidents on carpets and rugs and that can be hard to unlearn for a dog - and his accidents will be huge. Check out the crate training article linked below and follow the crate training method and the tethering methods. Crating at night is a lot safer. As he gets older he will likely go through two destructive chewing phases, the next one his jaws will be stronger and he will be able to chew through things and swallow pieces - this happens between 6-9 months usually and you want a dog to be really well crate trained already by this time, and the longer you wait to do that the harder it will be. Potty training with crate: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Check out the Surprise method from the article linked below for tips on how to introduce the crate - don't let him out while he is crying or it will take much longer to teach. He needs to opportunity to learn to self-sooth in the crate unless you know he needs to go potty. Wait until he is quiet for a second before you let him out. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If you keep trips outside super boring at night and straight back to bed after, use a monitor to listen for when he wakes instead of setting an alarm and waking him up, and ignore any crying that's not a need to go potty, then most pups will outgrow nightly wake-ups in about a month as their bladders get bigger - because it doesn't become behavioral. Loss of sleep is unfortunately just part of raising a puppy and shortcuts tend to cause a lot more work later on undoing bad habits. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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