Reflection high-energy electron diffraction (RHEED) operated at high pressure has been used to monitor the initial growth of titanium nitride (TiN) thin films on single-crystal (100) MgO substrates by pulsed laser deposition (PLD). This is the first RHEED study where the growth of TiN films is produced by PLD directly from a TiN target. At the initial stage of the growth (average thickness similar to 2.4 nm) the formation of islands is observed. During the continuous growth the islands merge into a smooth surface as indicated by the RHEED, atomic force microscopy and field emission scanning electron microscopy. These observations are in good agreement with the three-dimensional Volmer-Weber growth type, by which three-dimensional crystallites are formed and later cause a continuous surface roughening. This leads to an exponential decrease in the intensity of the specular spot in the RHEED pattern as well.