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Jar Potty

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Deskwork can be draining, but don't drain at your desk.
"Tinkle, tinkle in a jar when the toilet is too far."
Songdrops, "Tinkle Tinkle in a Jar"

For one reason or another in the middle of the Potty Emergency, 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, they are very poor, or 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. Other extensions of the trope may go the extra disgusting mile with another character happening across the container, thinking it's a refreshing bottle of lemonade or apple juice, and taking a swig. Screaming and absolute horror immediately follows.

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 diseases. 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 or similar for urine only is relatively safe, though, as unless the user has a UTI or gonorrhea or schistosomiasis, urine itself, while not perfectly sterile, is devoid of harmful to human health bacteria until exposed to it.

The most common people who partake in this practice in Real Life include:

  • 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 toilet facilities.
  • Private Eyes, as the Boring, but Practical insurance fraud/adultery cases that make up most of their workload generally call for long stakeouts and the ability to snap a photo at a second's notice.
  • Conscientious spelunkers, to avoid introducing contaminants to the pristine environment of untrammeled cavern systems.
  • Medical patients, who 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. People subjected to drug testing may undergo a similar procedure.

That said, No Real Life Examples, Please! (Fictional examples are bad enough.)


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In episode 8 of KonoSuba, Kazuma tries to talk Megumin into peeing into a bottle when the latter suggests they go to the bathroom together to solve their nightly Potty Emergency. Megumin takes offense and an argument breaks out. In the following scene, Kazuma is waiting for Megumin outside the bathroom while creepy dolls keep appearing in the hallway. A terrified Kazuma then breaks into the bathroom to escape with Megumin. As he tells her that he's at his limit, she offers him a flower vase she brought from the bathroom which he refuses to use. It's only when they're hiding in a room with the dolls outside that he seriously considers peeing into the vase. He doesn't do it because he gets distracted by Megumin's sudden creepy chanting.
  • How Not to Summon a Demon Lord: The party is exploring Diablo's dungeon and Horn says she needs to pee. The dungeon has no bathroom, so Diablo nonchalantly hands her The Holy Grail and tells her to use that. Rose is appalled, but he says he can use his stuff any way he wishes. Horn peeing into the Grail eventually awakens the spirit inside it, Babylon, who can only be seen and heard by someone who made an offering to the Grail.
  • In Recently, My Sister Is Unusual, 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 nurse's 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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: When tracking Hanna's movements, Willow finds a freighter with signs of a possible stowaway: food wrappers and two full jars.

    Film — Animated 
  • 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 a bottle filled with something) Don't drink that!

    Film — Live Action 
  • 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 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Senator June Finch refutes Lex's argument that him creating Kryptonite weapons is merely a "deterrent" using a colorful 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.
  • Happens in Das Boot while the U-96 is being depth-charged for the second time.
  • 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 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.
    Malone: Fertilize.
  • How to Rob a Bank: Trapped in the vault for several hours, Jason pees into one of the safety deposit boxes.
  • 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 Out Cold, the characters are subjected to a drug test by the ski resort's new owners, where they are told to "go to the bathroom in the cup." Pig Pen proceeds to poop in the cup as a "screw you" to them.
  • 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!"
  • Rat Race: Randy Pear's daughter announces that she needs the bathroom as they're driving down the highway so Randy tells his son to look through their luggage for a jar. Randy's wife points out that girls can't pee in jars the way boys do, so Randy adds for the son to look for a funnel. The search is moot as the daughter clarifies that it's the, uh, other number.
  • Six Reasons Why: Fleeing across the Thirsty Desert of The Badlands, The Criminal is reduced to peeing into a tankard and then drinking his own urine.
  • 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.
  • During the van trip at the start of The Tripper, Muff asks Joey to pull over so he can take leak. Instead, Joey hands him a jar and tells him to pee into that: suggesting that Jade can 'aim the cannon' for him. Disturbingly, the jar already has liquid in it; suggesting that Joey has been peeing into while driving. However, then Joey swerves to avoid a dog and runs off the road. Everybody takes advantage of the unexpected stop to pile out of the van for a comfort break.


  • 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 doorstep 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 the 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 when he asks what he'll do if he has to go number-two, Greg says that they'll cross that bridge when they come to it.
  • 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 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 the autobiographical Life and Times of The Thunderbolt Kid, the author (Bill Bryson) mentions that his mother used to force him to use the "Toity Jar" if he had to pee and they were in a hurry. He later learned that there were multiple Toity Jars, which she washed out and reused as necessary. Accidentally revealing this to his father (while he was eating peaches from one of the jars) is what ended the practice.
  • 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."
  • Peek A Boo Poo:
    • Places where Alfie poos include a pan, his father's shoe, a pot, and Kate's shower cap.
    • In the second book, Heidi poos in Mr. Tibbles's bowl, her father's briefcase, the real estate man's hat.

    Live Action TV 
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • In Cobra Kai, Johnny Lawrence takes a job as an Uber driver, and (among many other lapses in professionalism) ends up peeing into an empty beer can. While a passenger indignantly watches from the back seat.
  • Dead Set. Patrick and Pippa are trapped in a room with zombies outside, so eventually Patrick takes a very smelly dump in a bucket. Pippa is grossed out and complains about it later; Patrick however is just annoyed at Pippa's Skewed Priorities.
  • The Drew Carey Show: When Drew was depressed and refusing to leave his bed, he used a 'pee bottle', much to Kate's disgust.
  • In the pilot episode of Good Omens (2019), Crowley and Aziraphale "sober up" by making strained expressions, followed by a shot of wine bottles refilling themselves.
  • 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.
  • Damon Wayans' recurring bum character Anton Jackson on In Living Color! often toted around his homemade invention, the "Portable Port-A-Potty," which was a pickle jar. Half-full.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Invoked in the episode where they think Frank might have hepatitis (Hawkeye and Trapper "stole" a pint of his blood while he slept, and the North Korean patient they gave the blood to developed symptoms). They want to get a urine sample to test, so they had Frank drink until he had to go, but when he got to the latrine, Radar had nailed the door shut and told him it was "being redecorated". He then directed Frank to a small tent and handed him a bucket to use.
  • Chamber pots show up a time or two in Merlin. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Power Rangers Dino Charge episode "Let Sleeping Zords Lie" has The Teaser feature Shelby get so thirsty that she drinks the other Rangers' drinks. Before the title sequence happens, she grabs one of the empty cups and bolts off. Given what usually happens to a person after they've had a lot to drink, this is clearly hinting that she's going to relieve herself in it.
  • 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.
  • The Weekly with Charlie Pickering: In the final episode of 2020, Charlie picks up a Liberal Party 'Back in Black' mug and takes a sip. He then immediately spits it out, and comments that that's the mug he's been pissing into because they've been locked in studio for months due to COVID-19. He then picks up an identical mug and takes a sip of tea.
  • Young Sheldon: In "A Lobster, an Armadillo, and a Way Bigger Number", Linkletter brought a "trucker buddy" for peeing. Sheldon is grossed out, but prefers it to a gas station restroom.

  • 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.
  • Ray Stevens: In "Annual Office Christmas Party", we have the line "The restroom's occupied, but there's a palm tree in the hall".
    (Woman screams)
    "Well, excuuuuuse me!"
  • Piss-Bottle Man by Mike Watt (former bass player of The Minutemen) is entirely about the truck-driving version of this trope.

  • "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.

    Video Games 
  • A reference is made in Guitar Hero of all things.
    Always keep an empty bottle in the back of the van. You'll see.
  • 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 mission in the first stage of The Simpsons Hit & Run has Homer returning several of Ned Flander's belongings and one of them is a cooler that he gave to Barney as a birthday gift, which he apparently used as a toilet.
    Homer: Uh, remember that cooler I gave you for your birthday? Well, Flanders wants it back.
    Barney: Now what will I use for a toilet?!
  • "Meet the Sniper" short for Team Fortress 2 shows the Sniper peeing in jars to keep up his overwatch. In-game you can unlock his urine jars as a secondary weapon, called "Jarate", which applies a debuffnote , makes cloaked and disguised Spies easier to tracknote  and putting out afterburn from Pyros on allies. There's even an explanation on why he did this in the first place: Spy had been guessing Sniper's actions correctly for quite a while while being a nuisance to a few classes such as Scout, causing Sniper to look into the magazine-like flyer as he is sick and tired of being picked on by him.
    Sniper: Boy! Those Saxton Hale Jarate Pills tripled the size of my kidneys! And thanks to my Saxton Hale Pain Tonic, I can barely even feel my internal organs shutting down! He thought of everything!
  • 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.

    Visual Novels 

  • Defied in Homestuck. Dave needs to pee, but his toilet is no longer connected to any plumbing. He considers peeing into an apple juice bottle and sending it to John as a prank (as a Call-Back to an earlier reference to a similar prank in Little Monsters) but ultimately decides it's too elaborate to bother with and just goes in the shower instead.
  • 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.

    Web Original 
  • 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 labeled "FOOD", "WATER", and "EWW".
  • In the fifth episode of Object Terror, contestants are awarded with bottles of Computer's urine when they are called safe. Stapler thought the bottles were filled with apple juice and drinks some of it.
  • SuperMarioLogan:
    • 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."

    Western Animation 
  • Used as a Brick Joke in one episode In Carlē. 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".
  • From The Critic episode "Uneasy Rider": After quitting his job as a film critic (due to undesirable advertising interruptions), Jay Sherman becomes a trucker. On his first day working at a trucking firm, Jay asks one of his new co-workers where the men's room is located. None of truckers actually know; they've just using a large coffee tin outside. Inevitably, nature calls for Jay.
  • 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.
  • Fish Hooks: In "Doris Flores Gorgeous", Oscar, Bea, and Milo drive to Fish Niagra Falls to meet the eponymous character (a fake girlfriend that Oscar made up). Oscar claims he needs to go to the bathroom, so Milo hands him a jar and tells him to use that.
  • 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.
  • In a Halloween episode of Robot Chicken a brat kid uses a jack-o-lantern for this.
  • Scaredy Squirrel: In "Aisle of the Dead", Scaredy, Sally, and Dave hide in the storeroom at Stash n' Hoard from the zombies. Dave says that he has to go to the bathroom, but Scaredy won't let him leave because the zombies are outside, so he decides to use a pickle jar. Scaredy and Sally are disgusted and let him go anyway. Dave ends up becoming a zombie.
  • 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.
  • South Park:
    • In the 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 the bathroom as he chucks a urine-filled condom in the trash.
    • In "Bloody Mary", Randy tries to pee in an empty beer bottle before a cop pulls him over for drunk driving.
  • Seems to be the case in Teen Titans Go!, where Jinx resides in an infeasibly small futuristic-looking cylinder of a prison cell with a bucket. Directly addressed in "Operation Dude Rescue" where Starfire asks in so many words why she has a bucket; Jinx adopts a sly look, picks it up, says "I'll show you", and then, trilling as much, does a shredded-paper Confetti Drop; apparently it's for confetti.
  • Total Drama: When the Killer Bass have settled in their tent for the night in "The Sucky Outdoors", some of them have yet to empty their bladders to get a good night's rest. DJ is one of them and too scared to leave the tent to go behind a tree and so he pees into a jar right next to everyone else.
  • In the Yin Yang Yo! episode "Slumber Party of Doom", Yin forces Yang to stay on his side of their room during her sleepover so that he doesn't ruin it (even going as far as to throw a pizza he had ordered at his face when he tried to get it). Yang asks her, "What if I have to use the bathroom?" and Yin throws a bottle at him. He then asks, "Yeah, but what if-", but he gets cut off when she throws a trash can at his head.


Video Example(s):


Little Princess

The Princess, who has lost her voice, points to the potty, but the General gives her the bucket instead. So, she just pees in that.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / JarPotty

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