Tinkle, tinkle in a jar when the toilet is too far.Uh-oh, Potty Emergency! But for one reason or another, a toilet isn't available. Perhaps they're on a wacky road trip, perhaps they're locked in a room, perhaps they find the idea of urinating outdoors disgusting, perhaps even because they refuse to quit playing a certain video game. Whatever the reason, a proper trip to a bathroom is not available. Instead, some other container, usually a jar, is offered. Usually, the person will protest and say they'll hold it. If the person does use the Jar Potty, it'll be off-camera. The contents of the jar may be spilled on the person, with the phrase "I hope that was just water" or some variation therein. This trope is almost always Played for Laughs. That said, use of jars, chamber pots, cans, and other non-flush/non-latrine "toilets" has happened pretty much until the advent of the flush toilet in almost all societies that did not practice cleanliness codes forbidding it, being the direct cause of epidemic/pandemic cholera and the spread of much other serious infectious disease. There is a reason why latrines are generally situated away from water sources, why the flush toilet in societies with some degree of wastewater diversion/wastewater treatment, and/or chemical composting toilets being used to dispose of fecal matter are considered the greatest advance in disease prevention of human history; and the existence of proper toilets is literally central to the eradication of epidemics and pandemics. Using a jar or chamber pot or bottle similar for urine only is relatively safe, though, as unless the user has a UTI or gonorrhea or schistosomiasis, urine is itself, while not perfectly sterile, devoid of harmful to human health bacteria until exposed to it. The most common people who partake in this practice in Real Life are long-haul truckers, aviators, and other professions that must often spend many hours on the road or in the air, or otherwise well away from proper facilities for getting rid of bodily waste. Conscientious spelunkers employ a Jar Potty, and foil bags, to avoid introducing contaminants to the pristine environment of untrammeled cavern systems. Also, medical patients may be instructed to use a cup or urinal so the doctor can monitor their output volume or test the urine for the presence of certain chemicals or bacteria. That said, No Real Life Examples, Please!
—Songdrops: "Tinkle Tinkle in a Jar".
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In Saikin Imouto No Yousu Ga Chotto Okashiinda Ga, Mitsuki Kanzaki is suffering a Potty Emergency and tries to go to the bathroom, but her brother Yuyu mistakes her agitation for her being sick and drags her to the nurses office before she can explain, then leaves to find the nurse. Realizing she won't make it to the bathroom in time, she decides to go in a flower vase. Unfortunately, Yuya and the nurse pick this moment to walk in.
- Referenced in an issue of The Maze Agency. When Gabe complains about how uncomfortable long stake-outs are, Jen says that he is lucky as he can at least pee into a tennis ball container.
- In a minor Grendel comic story arc, a criminal terrified of the first Grendel locks himself in his apartment with a lot of guns. Paranoid about being poisoned through his plumbing, he plugs up his toilet and uses buckets and jars.
- Near the end of Assassins, Miguel Bane uses his empty water bottle to relieve himself while in his sniper nest. Justified because he can't look away from the front of the bank across the plaza, although he ends up spilling some when he thinks he sees his target.
- In The Aviator, part of Howard Hughes' descent into madness includes bottling his urine while he locks himself in a room. The line of bottles gets longer and longer, showing just how long he's been in there.
- In Dumb and Dumber, Lloyd manages to fill up ten beer bottles with his urine. A cop pulls them over because of the open container and tells them he'll let them off if they give him some. Then he takes a sip.
- Give 'Em Hell, Malone: Malone chains Evelyn to the radiator and when she asks what to do if she needs to go to the toilet, he pushes across a pot plant.
- Happens in Monster House when the two kids have to monitor the haunted house across the street.
DJ: We haven't left this room once! Not even to go to the bathroom. (Points to bottle filled with something) Don't drink that!
- In Problem Child 2, Junior takes a whiz in order to refill a pitcher of lemonade for a pair of snobbish sisters that he wants to get back at. The girls' obnoxious dad is the one who ends up taking a sample of Junior's little concoction.
Mr. Burger: "Ahh... Tangy!"
- In Stranger Than Fiction, Harold is told not to do anything for a day. He takes that to mean that he shouldn't even go to the bathroom. He wakes up on the couch and uses an empty urinal.
- Happens in Das Boot while the U-96 is being depth-charged for the second time.
- In Man of Steel, Lois is covering a military expedition on Ellesmere Island, miles from anywhere. Upon finding her "room" is just a cot in a storage room -
Lois: What if I need to tinkle?Colonel Hardy: There's a bucket in the corner.
- In Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Senator June Finch refutes Lex's argument that him creating Kryptonite weapons is merely a "deterrent" using a colourful metaphor "Take a bucket of piss and call it Granny's Peach Tea; take a weapon of assassination and call it deterrent. You won't fool a fly on me. I'm not gonna drink it." During a later Senate hearing, June finds a jar of (possibly) urine on her desk marked "Granny's Peach Tea" just before Lex blows up the Senate building, killing her.
- In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, Greg has to pee while in a car and starts using his lemonade bottle. He pees out two bottles' worth of urine.
- In Shea and Wilson's Illuminatus!, hapless magazine editor Joe Malik desperately needs a piss but is alone in Illuminati HQ's boardroom. So he comments on the need for ultimate power expressed by a powerful occult secret society by emptying his bladder into their boardroom wastepaper bin.
- In Callahan's Legacy, one of the Callahan's Crosstime Saloon novels, Jake is using a beer stein to transport a sample from his very pregnant wife to the hospital. He collides with a woman standing on his door step and the contents of the stein end up all over her.
- In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever, the main character Greg (a 12-year-old boy) and his best friend Rowley try to make homemade video games for their own holiday bazaar, and make Pac-Man by getting Rowley to sit in box and control the ghosts. He asks what to do if he has to go to the bathroom, and Greg gives him a bottle to pee in and decides to wait and see with regards to pooping.
- The Dirty Bertie story "Loo!" focuses on the main character Bertie having to pee while on a bus. His teacher, Miss Boot, suggests he pee in a bottle. He does, and then his rival, Nick, takes it mistaking it for a drink.
- In Ender's Shadow, Bean mentions that the children used these during the increasingly long battles (and comments that he was never sure what the one girl used).
- In one of Lawrence Block' Matthew Scudder novels, he hires the adult son of a friend of his to do all night surveillance of a suspect. Scudder, a former police officer, advises his friend's son to take a water bottle along. When asked why, Scudder replies that "you'll find out."
Live Action TV
- I'm in the Band: During the band tour, a coffee can was used as a potty. At some point, this coffee can gets knocked over.
- Jessie: Jessie falls over into a window washer's bucket. Recalling something he said earlier, she asks him where he does go to the bathroom when he's on the rig.
- Blackadder II episode "Potato" contains several references to this. Blackadder attempts to gain fame by rounding the Cape of Good Hope, but his ship ends up getting lost and running out of water, forcing them to resort to this trope (except for the captain, who'd been drinking "his own water" the whole time). Baldrick manages to fill two bottles, but the group is spared in the nick of time when they suddenly discover a new land. When they get back to England two years later, Edmund takes great pleasure in giving the bottles of "fine wine" to his rivals Lord Melchett and Sir Walter Raleigh.
- One episode of Person of Interest involves Reese and Finch going on a stakeout, and Reese recommends bringing an empty bottle along.
Reese: There are no bathrooms on stakeouts, Finch.
- The Drew Carey Show: When Drew was depressed and refusing to leave his bed, he used a 'pee bottle', much to Kate's disgust.
- Damon Wayan's recurring bum character on In Living Color! often toted around his homemade invention, the "Portable Port-A-Potty," which was a pickle jar. Half-full.
- Showed up in a first-season Mythbusters episode. When Jamie and Adam tested "peeing on the third rail", they needed real urine to load into their urinating dummy. At one point, Jamie calls for the pee bottle (a one-gallon milk carton) because he needs to go.
- Chamber pots show up a time or two in Merlin a time or two. a deleted scene even had Arthur dump his on Merlin's head.
- One episode of My Name Is Earl had Darnell use one of these offscreen when the gang was trapped in the copy-room after trying to steal the copier and failing miserably.
- Another episode involves a Basement-Dweller who uses these because coming upstairs to use the bathroom is too much for him, and his doting mother only enables his laziness. He was upset because she ran his supply through the dishwasher, and he didn't want to wait for her to give him one, so he peed out the window.
- M*A*S*H: In "Smilin' Jack," the 4077th has their specimen bottles traded away, so the doctors have to improvise. When it is suspected that chopper pilot Smilin' Jack has an ailment, Hawkeye and B.J. give him an examination, then hand him an empty champagne bottle in lieu of a specimen bottle.
Jack: What's this for?
Hawkeye: We're toasting the Kaiser.
- Band of Brothers: Dick Winters wakes a drunken Lewis Nixon by soaking him with a jug of water he finds next to his bed. Only, it's not water.
Cpt. Nixon: GOD DAMMIT! Ahhh, that's my own PISS, for Christ's sake!
- In the Sam & Cat episode "Motorcycle Mystery" Sam handcuffs the small martial arts fighter stuck to Cat onto the door of the apartment. When Dice asks what will happen if he needs to use the bathroom, Cat presents him with a black garbage bag.
- In the episode "Secret Safe" Cat uses a bucket in the secret room as a makeshift toilet.
- Piss-Bottle Man by Mike Watt (former bass player of The Minutemen) is entirely about the truck-driving version of this trope.
- Songdrops had a song "Tinkle Tinkle in a Jar", a parody of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
Tinkle tinkle in a jar, when the toilet is too far. Tell the world of this solution. It could start a revolution. Tinkle tinkle in a jar, when the toilet is too far.
- "The Cop Song" from the musical Urinetown, which has Officers Lockstock and Barrel gloat about people they punished for not using proper toilets to avoid having to pay to go to the bathroom, mentions two individuals who were sent to Urinetown as punishment for doing this.
- Jacob Rosenbloom, who peed in jars he kept in his room.
- Roger Roosevelt, who "kept a cup below his belt" before he spilled it and was therefore caught.
- As pictured above, the "Meet the Sniper" trailer for Team Fortress 2 shows him doing this. In-game you can unlock his pee jars as a secondary weapon, called "Jarate", which applies a 35% defense debuff on any enemy it hits.
- Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness has a quest in Episode 1 in which you must bring a scale model ferris wheel to a "Urinologist" so he can pee on it, and give you a jar of pee in return. You will need the jar of pee to fully upgrade Gabe's fists.
- A reference is made in Guitar Hero of all things.
Always keep an empty bottle in the back of the van. You'll see.
- In Violet, the final puzzle is figuring out how to relieve yourself without leaving your room. You can use your wastebasket, or an empty bottle if you're male.
- In the Spacetrawler universe, this situation apparently arises often enough that an entire line of robots was designed for the primary function of allowing pilots to relieve themselves without leaving the cockpit (and a secondary function of converting waste into food and water). Humor is derived from how frighteningly eager the resident pottybot is to perform his job.
- In one S.S.D.D comic Kingston is watching a movie and really has to go, so he grabs one of the beer glasses they have lying around the place. Next panel Norman and Richard are talking about the pint of bitter they found behind the cough, tastes a bit off but not bad.
- The final scene of "A Night at the Inn, a Day at the Racists" from the Binder of Shame has it revealed that El Disgusto has stashed a whole collection of bottles of Mountain Dew under the stairs, except it's not Mountain Dew in the bottles — as he explains, he doesn't like to go upstairs to the bathroom when he's watching TV, so he just goes in the bottles with the intention of throwing them away later. He hasn't thrown away a single one — some of them are crusted with age and other substances. And yes, this is exactly as disgusting as it sounds, such that the fact that it capped off a truly nasty bit of gaming was the "rock bottom" moment for Ab 3.
- Homestar Runner:
- In the early short "A Jumping Jack Contest", The Cheat tricks Homestar into drinking lots of melonade so that he will have to use the bathroom. After drinking all the melonade, he has to pee, but he can't leave the stage (otherwise he'll be disqualified from the contest), so Pom-Pom comes up with a plan. It then cuts to Homestar sighing in relief as The Poopsmith walks away carrying a large jar of urine.
- In "Strong Bad is in Jail Cartoon", Strong Bad and The Cheat's cell is just an upended cardboard box with three cans labelled "FOOD", "WATER", and "EWW".
- In "Bowser Junior's Broken Leg!", Junior makes Chef Pee Pee bring him a cup to pee in, since he can't walk to the bathroom with a broken leg. Chef Pee Pee does so, and when he attempts to dispose of Junior's pee, Toad arrives and mistakes the pee for lemonade, so Chef Pee Pee lets him have it.
- In "The Elevator!", Junior has to go to the bathroom on his way to A Doofy the Dragon Meet and Greet, and he, Joseph, and Cody get trapped in an elevator. Junior eventually relieves himself in a cup he found on the floor, much to the disgust of Joseph and Cody, and he nearly gets close to drinking it.
- Take The Poo To The Loo is a UNICEF collaboration with media in India to encourage people to build and use toilets - India has a notorious problem, due to both cultural issues and intense poverty, with lack of proper toilet facilities, open defecation, and the use of everything from open fields to chamber pots.
- Translations Gone Wrong has this lyric from the song "Meme Seed" (misinterpreted form of Babs Seed) that implies this trope.
Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo: "Oh, can't find the loo. I am full, ready to bust. I will settle for a vase."
- Fish Hooks: In "Doris Flores Gorgeous", Oscar claims he needed to go the bathroom. Milo hands him a jar and tells him to use that.
- Scaredy Squirrel: In "Aisle of the Dead", Scaredy, Sally and Dave hide in the storeroom from the zombies. Dave says he has to go to the bathroom, but Scaredy says he can't go out there. Dave says that it's OK and he'll just use a pickle jar. They tell him to go use the washroom instead.
- The Simpsons. Bart and Homer have been attached to each other for punishment. They're in the living room, watching TV.
Bart: Come on, Dad. I got to go to the bathroom.Homer: Oh, I just got comfortable! Use the bottle.Marge: No, I don't want you using the bottle. That's what hobos do.Bart: Come on, Homer!Homer: No!Bart: Mom!Marge: Aw geez, Homer, just take him to the bathroom.Homer: Fine! I don't know why we even have a bottle! Somebody tell me!
- In "Last Exit to Springfield" Homer is caught short during union negotiations at Mr Burns' mansion and, after failing to find a bathroom in Burns' huge mansion, ends up using a priceless antique vase.
- In a Halloween episode of Robot Chicken a brat kid uses a jack-o-lantern for this.
- In the South Park episode, "Proper Condom Use", the boys get some faulty information about how STDs are spread and they start wearing condoms 24/7 to prevent transmission. The boys find it really uncomfortable, but Cartman claims it's an easy way to go to bathroom as he chucks a urine-filled condom in the trash.
- Family Guy: In the DVD version of Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story, as part of the Framing Device of the cast attending the film's premiere, Peter notices the film has gone into intermission and complains that peed in his cup for nothing. Chris then tells him that he just kicked over his Coke.
- Little Princess has the episode "I Want My Voice Back". The Princess (who's just four) loses her voice completely and cannot talk. When she needs her potty chair, she points to where it is on the shelf, and the General brings down a sand bucket instead, so she pees in it.
- Used as a Brick Joke in one episode In Carl Squared. C2 starts off in the luggage, begging for use of a washroom. Carl gives him a cup to use, since he couldn't confess to his family that he had a clone just yet. Near the end of the episode, Carl is the one who ends up in the suitcase, and drinks "some nasty soda C2 left".
- In the Yin Yang Yo! episode "Slumber Party of Doom", Yin wants Yang to stay in his room during her sleepover so it goes perfectly. When Yang gets up to get the pizza he ordered, she throws it at him to keep him from leaving. Yang asks what will happen if he has to go to the bathroom and Yin throws a bottle at him. When he asks about... something else related to the previous question, she throws a trash can at his head.