Calling Your Bathroom Breaks

"I need to urinate."
Leonard's Mom, The Big Bang Theory

Everybody does it, but due to courtesy most people exercise discretion, merely saying something like, "Please excuse me for a moment." Not this character. When they have to go, they announce it loud and clear for everyone to hear: "I have to pee!"

Obviously, if a young child does this they might just not know any better; this kind of behavior is often associated with children during (or just over) toilet training who may need help with the process and are generally praised for doing so. Likewise, a student may need to state for the record why he or she is leaving the classroom in order to satisfy attendance laws. If a grown character still acts this way, it can indicate childishness.

In a non-childish character, it can still be used to indicate boorishness. Like some other forms of impropriety, this can also be used to show that characters are comfortable dispensing with formalities between themselves. It could even show a twisted form of respect for someone else's time as a way to imply how long the break will likely be, as brown takes longer than yellow. Or it could just be they've been holding it in so long that they don't have the mental energy to spare on being polite.

May or may not involve an Excrement Statement. Sometimes a character who engages in this is faking in order to attempt a Bathroom Break-Out.

Lastly, this can be played for a very mild form of Toilet Humor, sometimes as a Bottom of the Barrel Joke.


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  • Heirs of the Founders:
    Ron Weasley: ...Anyways, I'm gonna go find the loo; I haft'ta take a whizz.
  • Harriet Potter:
    Harri: Go on, dinner should be soon and I'm hungry. Plus, I think I need to find a bathroom. I'm so full of tea I'm gonna pee like a racehorse.

  • In Forrest Gump, both the book and the movie, this is used to indicate Forrest's lack of intelligence and social understanding. Most famously, he does this when he meets the President of the United States. Though he did just drink fifteen Dr Peppers.
    President Kennedy: How does it feel to be All-American?
    Forrest: I gotta pee.
  • In Pulp Fiction, Vincent always crudely announces his need to go, which helps to differentiate him from his more professional counterpart, Jules. It also creates some incongruity with his character, being a professional hitman in a suit and tie.
  • In Murder by Death Sam Diamond does this twice, establishing his rudeness.
    Diamond: I'm going down the hall to find the can. I talk so much sometimes, I forget to go.
    Diamond: Shut up, all of youse! Nobody move! Stay where you are! [snip] I have to go to the can again. I don't want to miss nothing.
  • The Merovingian in The Matrix Reloaded, in perhaps the greatest example of his Sophisticated as Hell characterization.
    Persephone: Where are you going?
    Merovingian: Please, ma cherie, I have told you. We are all victims of causality. I drank too much wine, I must take a piss.
  • In the film of Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Scott does this a few times to show how socially inept he is. A fantastic example occurs when he is caught in an awkward situation, asked about a girl he'd rather not talk about by his current girlfriend: a cut-away shows a wheel of excuses on the inside of his head which spins around and gets caught between "Who, her?" and "I have to pee." Scott's muddled response? "I have to pee on her."
  • In a deleted scene from The Enforcer, Harry is drinking beer with Kate, which ends with her drunkenly declaring that she has to pee.
  • In the film adaptation of Doom - "I gotta take a dump."
  • In Being There, the (fictitious) President of the United States himself says he's going to "take a shit." Only to his staff, of course.
  • In Paper Moon, Addie says, "I have to go to the shithouse," no doubt intending to embarrass her apparent father.

  • In the Circle of Magic series, in the second book, when the four children are discussing what to do about the pirate attack, Tris announces loudly that she has to use the privy and leaves. Turns out she really was just trying to get away from the others so she could deal with it on her own.
  • Robert Munsch's book I Have To Go.
  • In The Leonard Regime, Brandon does this regularly during any form of car ride, nearly to the point of absurdity.
  • The Reynard Cycle: In The Baron of Maleperduys, Reynard and company find themselves trying to stay ahead of an advancing army, when a rainstorm begins to slow them. Sheltering briefly in a thicket, Reynard urges everyone to take food and drink, stating that they will press on as soon as he returns. When asked where he is going, Reynard replies: "To take a piss."
  • In Skeleton Crew's "Here There be Tygers," third-grader Charles attempts to be discreet, telling his teacher Miss Bird he has to go to the "basement" (the students' nickname for the bathroom). However, Miss Bird embarrasses him by demanding he say "bathroom" before she'll let him go. Then she calls his bathroom break, saying "You may go to the bathroom and urinate. Is that what you need to do? Urinate?" Charles can only hang his head in shame before he goes.

     Live-Action TV  
  • The Brady Bunch: The most famous case was in the three-part "Grand Canyon" episodes to open the third season. Prior to the family leaving in the first part, Bobby and Cindy have to use the bathroom, and then so does Alice, delaying the start of the trip. In Part 2, shortly before arriving at the campsite, a Filler scene is shown with the station wagon parked on the side of the road and an irritated Mike waiting for three of his passengers – again, Bobby and Cindy ... and then Alice – to scurry back from the woods (implying a need to relieve themselves).
  • On How I Met Your Mother Lily does this a few times over the course of the series, usually to indicate how working with kindergarteners for years has blunted her social sensibilities.
  • Taxi: In the first episode Latka tries to get Alex to help him with his English lessons, while Alex is on the phone.
    Alex:Why don't you look at the phrases I wrote in the back [of Latka's English phrasebook]? "Get off my back." "Give me a minute while I go to the can." Study those.
    • Later when everyone is heading out to ride with Alex to visit his daughter in Florida before she gets on an airplane for France, Latka uses the "can" line on Louie.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Played with by Sheldon. Sheldon insists on a bathroom schedule and regulates the time at which meals are eaten in order to control when he and Leonard go to the bathroom, and several episodes concern him discussing this schedule with others. This illustrates both his rigorous need for structure and his totally inept social skills. Played straight by Leonard's mother who will stand and say "I need to urinate" before going to the bathroom.
    • Howard's mother Mrs. Wolowitz is very open about when she needs to go,'s she doing in there. No one really likes being around Mrs. Wolowitz.
  • In Friends episode "The One After The Superbowl Part 2", when Chandler's date invites him to the bathroom for sex, he excitedly states "I'm going to the bathroom now!"
  • Barney Miller: In the toilet humor category, Fish has to go to the bathroom frequently. It's part of his aging process. Sometimes he announces it and sometimes he just implies it; it's a Running Gag.
  • One of Rich's Catch Phrases on Snuff Box is "I gotta piss."
  • Leslie in Parks and Recreation sometimes announces her trips to the "Wizz Palace".
  • Played for Laughs in an episode of Game On. Mandy jokingly asks if the flatmates should keep each other informed of their bowel movements. Matt then walks by, saying "Just going for a dump, I'll be right back."
  • A Monty Python sketch has a woman (Terry Jones) visited by several clandestine lovers as she's in bed next to her dozing husband (Michael Palin). As he's awoken and lulled back to sleep several times by his wife, he finally declares "I'm off for a tinkle!" and walks out, stopping the production of the sketch. (He's actually gone off to his own clandestine affair.)
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode 'Restless' features this exchange in Xander's dream as the gang watches a video of "Apocalypse Now":
    Giles: I'm beginning to understand - it's all about the journey, isn't it?
    Xander: Well, thanks for making me have to pee! [heads for bathroom]
    Buffy: You don't need any help with that, do ya?
    Xander: Got a system.
  • In The Office (US), Oscar once mentions that Kevin does this frequently (to the point of once stopping his car on the spot and charging out of it to do so). To Keven's credit, the only time he actually does this at a relevant point in the show was to escape a situation where he was in danger of revealing that Oscar was having an affair with Angela's husband.
  • On the L.A. Law episode "Guess Who's Coming to Murder," guest star Kevin Spacey plays "eccentric" businessman Giles Keenan, who, when he's told a big business deal is coming through, leaps to his feet and cries "Oh! Excitement! I need a bowel movement! I go alone!"

     Manga and Anime  
  • Tamayo Kizaki on Angelic Layer does this earlier in the series in order to indicate that she is still childish. She stops after a particularly heart-wrenching moment of Character Development later in the series when she and Kotaro decide that they need to grow up. It doesn't help that this moment involves the two of them being trapped on an elevator for several hours, and all that implies...
  • In Nounai Poison Berry, Hatoko (the "Present" part of Ichiko) does this repeatedly in Chapter 8, until Ichiko finally asks to use the restroom. (Note: Sharing a Body)

     Stand-Up Comedy  
  • Discussed by George Carlin, who says in one of his routines how embarrassing it would be for your fiancee to do this at a dinner party:
    "I'll be right back! I gotta take a dump!" There seems to be no really genteel way...of announcing publicly...a dump. And frankly I'm not impressed with people who tell you what they're doing. "I'll be right back, I gotta take a shit!" Never Mind! Do what you have to do and leave me out of it! And don't describe it to me when you get back! "Boy, you shoulda seen—" NEVER MIND! "It set off the smoke alarm—" NEVER MIND!!!
    • In another of George's routines:
    "Why do people say 'take a shit' and 'take a piss?' You don't take 'em, you leave 'em! 'I left a shit, Bill.' 'Where'd you leave it this time? Last year, the kids couldn't find it till Easter!' 'I'm gonna take a shit.' 'Don't take one of mine! I only have three left and the weekend's coming up!'"

     Video Games  

  • "Run Away," which ends act one of Spamalot, announces the intermission like this.
    King Arthur: Have a drink and a pee/We'll be back for act three!
    Patsy: Two, sir.
    King Arthur: Two!
  • In vaudeville, it was not uncommon for a singer to come out during intermission and sing "Intermission, intermission/Go to pishen, go to pishen."
  • American Idiot advises the audience before the show begins to go now, and not during the ballad.

  • In Questionable Content #1467, Dora is apologizing at length to Faye while they are in line for the ladies' room together. Faye cuts her off mid-speech this way when she reaches the front of the line.

     Western Animation  
  • Veggie Tales: At the very end of the movie "Lyle the Kindly Viking," Larry, the consummate manchild, sings "I have to go to the baaathroooom," much to Bob's chagrin.
  • In the first episode of Avatar The Last Airbender Sokka is attempting to "train" very young children to defend their hometown, since all of the men are away at war. This leads to this exchange:
    Boy: I gotta pee!
    Sokka: Listen, until your father returns from the war, they're counting on you to be the men of this tribe! And that means NO POTTY BREAKS!
    Boy: But I really gotta go!
    Sokka: (frustratedly sighs) Fine. Who else has to go?
    (All the boys raise their hands)
    • Played for Laughs in the penultimate episode of Book 2, after Toph has successfully metalbended her way out of an iron box and jammed her captors inside, who can't get out. This is a Call Back to earlier in the episode, when Toph does the same thing as an obvious attempt at a Bathroom Breakout that her captors don't fall for.
      Xin Fu: (dolefully) I'm going to be stuck in here forever with you, aren't I?
      Yu: ...I have to go to the bathroom.
      Xin Fu: *CLANG* (groans and smashes his head against a wall in frustration)
  • Octus regularly uses this excuse on Sym-Bionic Titan to get out of class/leave a party/etc. in order to fight evil and save the world.
  • Tish on The Weekenders, who is not in the habit of doing this, does it when she's actually planning to sneak out through the bathroom window, to make it extra clear that she's not doing anything unusual. Carver's response: "Surprisingly, the law no longer requires that you announce it to everyone."
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode "Keeper of the Reaper" Fred Fredburger a green idiotic elephant demon twice calls out "Judge I need to poo-poo!".
    Fred Fredburger: "Judge I have to go pee pee. I have to go pee pee real bad!"
    Judge: "Can't it wait!?"
    [sound of water]
    Juror next to Fred Fredburger: "Apparently not!"
  • The Lola Bunny featured in The Looney Tunes Show does this all the time to illustrate how socially inept she is. The first episode she appears in makes great use of the trope to illustrate just how awkward her date with Bugs is.
  • In one episode of Adventure Time, Princess Bubblegum suddenly got a worried look on her face, declared that she shouldn't have drank so much tea earlier, and rushed off. Well, a princess can't just say that she needs to piss...
  • Inverted in Daria. On a road trip stuck in a traffic jam, Daria remarks "I shouldn't have had all that tea!" to which the guys (one of whom she has a crush on) have a loud, indiscreet conversation about it, much to her mortification. "If you need to pee, there's some trees over there! See those trees? You can pee behind there!"
  • Quite frequently with Wakko of Animaniacs: "I gotta potty!"
  • The short Space Walkies ends with Mickey Mouse and Pluto returning to Earth from their space mission, which was delayed by Pluto having to go during the countdown. At the very end, a reporter comments to Mikey that after such a long space journey, he must be relieved. Mickey answers with "Not yet, but I will be" and then runs to an outhouse.
  • In one episode of The Simpsons, Principal Skinner's mother drags him into Moe's and, true to her character, calls his bathroom break for him.
    Mrs. Skinner: Seymour needs to use the restroom! His bladder is full! Full of urine!

  • In a "post hoc" variation, a Fun T-Shirt declares "I Pooped Today!" * In vaudeville