Just a heads-up: That yellow liquid is NOT lemonade.
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 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 will 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
. That said, No Real Life Examples, Please!
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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.
- 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 Callahans 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 the Enderís Game sequel "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).
Live Action TV
- 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.
- 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 Ab3.
- In the early Homestar Runner short "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.
- 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.
- 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!
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 another example, Homer is caught short during union negotiations at Mr Burns' mansion and ends up using a priceless antique vase.
- In a Halloween episode of Robot Chicken a brat kid uses a jack-o-lantern for this.