Step to the left, then step to the right.
Put your knees together, and squeeze real tight
Keep your arms moving, side to side.
Try to hold it in 'til it's time to ride.
Knock, Knock, let me in.
Knock, Knock, let me in, I gotta go, uh!gotta go! The situation grows tense as she slowly becomes more and more restless, but at last her speech is finished and she can dash from the classroom in search of some badly needed relief. It's a dance of the ages, that sometimes subtle and sometimes blatant collection of movements intended to resist the body's natural urges and avoid a messy disaster. Most commonly observed with children or those experiencing a lengthy Potty Emergency that might just ultimately result in a Potty Failure. Like those two tropes, it is frequently Played for Laughs. It varies a bit, but common signs of the potty dance, sitting or standing, include:
- Putting one's hands on one's genitals, or grabbing the clothes near them. Looks different from A Date with Rosie Palms as they are not usually acting lusty or enjoying it. People may also do this if they are the victims of a Groin Attack. Justified, since this may prevent pee from flowing out and thus prevent Potty Failure.
- Acting distracted. Obviously doesn't apply if they already have Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!. The reason for this in real life is because they are distracted by the Potty Emergency.
- Swaying one's hips. However some people do this with regular dancing, so watch out for other signs, too.
- Putting one's feet apart and knees together, or just crossing the legs.
- Jumping from foot to foot, however more cowardly characters might do that when they are just worried, and more goofy/happy characters might do that because they are happy.
- Worried or overly serious expression. Could also be a sign of anxiety.
- Turning red in the face, which is also a sign of anxiety, embarrassment, or fever.
- Sweating (Ditto).
- Inability to be still; shivering, fidgeting, shaking.
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- Pull Ups had a commercial where kids do the Potty Dance (albeit not a dance meaning you need to go, but a dance about the potty). It has steps! You can visit their website to download the song.
- In the commercial for cat litter, it showed cats doing the potty dance, a method of leaning forward on their hind legs with their paws on their crotches, occasionally hopping.◊
Anime & Manga
- In Episode 6 of Miami Guns, Yao does this.
- In Detective Conan: Conan fakes a Potty Emergency during a case this way (in order to Pull the Thread on the suspect).
- Strawberry Marshmallow: Chapter 14/Episode 6: Miu does it while lying on the bed because holding it in is temporarily preferable to entering the bathroom without a Varia Suit.
- Maruko in one of the Chibi Maruko-chan manga issues/Episode 297, where she starts doing "the duck walk".
- Izzy in the second part of Digimon: The Movie (though his reason why depends on whether you're watching the dub or original — either Tai's mom's cooking kicked in or Koushiro simply drank too much).
- In Elfen Lied, Lucy (as Nyuu) does this before finally just going on the floor.
- Ojamajo Doremi has episode 7, where Pop has to take a whizz extra bad due to having a bit too much ice cream.
- In volume 2 of Tokyopop's Warcraft: Legends manga, a little girl does this in the story "Family Values."
- Mikan often end up doing this in Go! Go! Itsutsugo Land. She never makes it...
- Saiyuki: Goku does one in the movie while the group is staying in the mansion of Houlan's master.
- Yo-Kai Watch: The Youkai Fidgephant causes people (and other Youkai) to do this by giving them Potty Emergencies.
- Sena does this in Episode 10 of The Comic Artist and His Assistants.
- Eris does in Chapter 7 of the manga of Mushoku Tensei.
- The main Ojou Sama, Shizuka, does this in Chapter 2 of Ojousama wa Nigedashita! while waiting for Tooru to get out of the bathroom.
- Usagi does the wriggly sitting-down variant in Act 31.5 and the corresponding manga chapter, of Sailor Moon Crystal.
- Referenced in one episode of Crayon Shin-chan, where Mitzi was panicking when she noticed she had a spider crawling on her hand. Her son Shin walks outside and thinks she's doing the "Pee-pee dance".
- In Episode 5 of Maken-ki! Two, Aki does a one-handed version of this.
- In Episode 10 of Future Diary, Minene does a one-handed version of this.
- The Green Apple Quicksteps card from Shadowrun, which removes an enemy runner from play for a turn.
Films — Animated
- Monsters, Inc..
Sulley: That's a cute little dance you got there, it's almost like you gotta...Boo: *squeals desperately*Sulley: Oh!*cut to Sulley standing outside a stall whistling*
- Toy Story 3: Probably as a Call Back to the above Pixar example, Bonnie does this during playtime with Woody at her house.
Bonnie: (to Woody) Want some coffee? ("drinks" from plastic cup) It's good for you, but don't drink too much or you'll hafta...hafta...◊ be right back! (runs to bathroom)
- Over the Hedge: Hammy the Squirrel does this after waking up from hibernation.
Films — Live-Action
- Blazing Saddles: When Taggart gets an idea he gets excited and jumps around. Hedley Lamarr thinks he's doing one of these.
- Bronson Pinchot does this in a film called Second Sight, except it's an extremely elaborate dance they call the peepee dance. He plays a psychic who is channeling someone else who has to pee.
- Mentioned in The Great Muppet Caper; Kermit, Fozzie and Gonzo are developing pictures to catch a jewel thief, but they do it in the Happiness Hotel's only restroom. As Pops says, "Catch him in another room! We got people dancin' up an' down on one leg out here!"
- An outtake exists from an Abbott & Costello film of Costello stopping a take by doing the dance because he had to pee.
- In this 2004 German Made-for-TV Movie Prinzessin Macht Blau, the titular character does the "jiggling-up-and-down" variation of this trope.
- According to Robert Parrish's autobiography (he was one of the Little Rascals), they called this a European, or You're a'-Peein'.
- Fregly in Diary of a Wimpy Kid reportedly does this while screaming "JUICE!! JUUUUIIIICE!!!!" as part of his bizarre use of slang.
- A scene in Darth Vader and Son, a non-canon Star Wars picture book, depicts little Luke Skywalker doing this.
Vader: Luke, do you need to go potty?Luke: No.Vader: Well, you're kind of doing a little dance.Luke: I don't have to go.
- In Men at Arms, the corrupt and bullying Captain Quirke kicks Gaspode The Wonder Dog. Gaspode, a dog capable of huan-level speech, gets revenge by planting the suggestion in Quirke's mind that he really, desperately, needs to go to the privy. Right now. note Quirke's speech of gloating triumph to the seemingly defeated heroes is deflated by his doing the Potty Dance while he tries to gloat. Eventually he gives up and runs for it.
Live Action Television
- The Love Boat: Isaac does this when forced to share a cabin (and a bathroom) with the other male crew.
- In The Revenge Files Of Alistair Fury a boy does this whilst waiting outside the toilet while Alistair and his friends are holding a meeting inside it. (He doesn't make it).
- Spoofed in Malcolm in the Middle where Dewey's way of charming their babysitter is to bounce up and down singing "Poopy poopy poopy" over and over.
- In the "Unfabulous" episode "The Road Trip" Addie is going through her flashbacks of her dad talking about the car, sports show. The last one shows her dad singing from behind the bathroom door, and Addie is squirming while having a potty emergency. He continues to sing as she waits impatiently in agony desperately waiting for the restroom.
- The MythBusters tested whether this method was more or less effective at staving off the inevitable, with inconclusive results.
- Inverted in Tour of Duty. One of the soldiers is suffering from the runs, and has to keep going off into the bushes while on patrol to drop his pants. While he does so, a huge toad jumps onto his dropped pants. At the same time, he happens to see some Vietcong slipping out of a tunnel to evade the American soldiers; the soldier quickly yanks up his pants and Hilarity Ensues.
- Bear in the Big Blue House: Tutter does in the book version of "When You've Gotta Go." The book even describes him as "dancing from side to side."
- The Sims: Sims do this and yell at the player to get their attention so the player can direct them to the restroom.
- In RollerCoaster Tycoon 1 & 2 park guests with a high enough bathroom score change their normal walking animation into a frenetic one of these, particularly if your park's bathrooms are poorly placed or if you're evil enough to charge to use the bathroom.
- In Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, the park guests do this when their Toilet meter is high.
- In the Tamagotchi PC Pack game, all the Tamagotchi except for Kuchipatchi and Ichigotchi do this when you say the command "Use the bathroom" through the microphone.
- Final Fantasy VII features in NPC at the Wall Market bar doing one of these while waiting for a sick bar patron to finish up.
- Littlest Pet Shop (2012): Sunil does this in "Sweet (Truck) Ride", and Zoe does this in "The Very Littlest Pet Shop".
- Futurama: Bender does it briefly in Bender's Big Score after drinking a bunch of beers, lampshades comments on the lunacy of a robot having to go to the bathroom.
- Recess: Mikey, after T.J. makes him drink water from a hosepipe.
- An unnamed Water Tribe boy does this in the second episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Wakko during the Potty Emergency Trope Namer Animaniacs cartoon.
- The Simpsons:
- Homer Simpson does this after drinking way too much crab juice.
- Otto is mesmerized by Ralph's Potty Dance in "How The Test Was Won".
- Loopy did this in KaBlam! due to Larry being in the bathroom too long...he recently got muscular, and was admiring himself.
- In the second season of the Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! cartoon, the Killer Tomato Task Force had to fake one to get past the tomato guard and rescue Doctor Gangreen.
- King Julien in The Penguins of Madagascar remarks in "Friend In A Box" that he never learned "that dance." Being the king, he just goes wherever he is. Kowalski takes two steps away from Julien upon hearing that.
- Pinkie Pie does this in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Last Round-Up" after a long train ride.
- Ren and Stimpy as "Fire Dogs" are awarded the sacred Golden Fire Hydrant helmets - after doffing them they discover a long line of dogs behind them doing The Dance.
- Beast Boy in Teen Titans does a potty dance while waiting for Starfire to get out of the bathroom as she examines a large growth on her head. It gets amusingly annoying when his dance is interspersed with various cuts to water sounds.
- The episode "Serious Business" from the spin off Teen Titans Go! has a whole musical number about this, as quoted and linked to above. It's that kind of show.
- Rosie does a wriggly sitting-down version as Mommy carries her to see Santa Claus in Caillou's Holiday Movie.
Mommy: (trying to sit her in Santa's lap) What is it, sweetie?Rosie: Bafroom.
- Happens multiple times in two episodes of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood: Prince Wednesday Goes to the Potty", and in "Daniel Goes to the Potty".
- In Camp Lazlo Lazlo beat Edward in a lemonade drinking contest and when called over for a winner picture he started to do this dance in the episode "Hold It Lazlo".
- In Tutenstein, this is the first thing the titular character does after waking up from the dead.
- In the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode "The Secret Serum", the whole gang fakes a Potty Emergency and decides to make it more convincing by Potty Dancing. note
- In the episode of What's with Andy?, Andy has a Potty Emergency and lampshades his Potty Dancing by saying and daydreaming "Hold it in, do a dance, that's the way to keep dry pants".
- In Legoland in Windsor near one of the toilets, there are two Legomen doing this.
- Truth in Television for just about every toddler on the planet.
- There's an old joke saying that tapdancing was invented by a man called Stepan Stepanovich who was inspired by the unusual dances his family performed every time he occupied the toilet for too long.