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!"
Alice gets up in front of the class and starts her speech, but something's wrong. She looks distracted, and she can't seem to stand still. Her legs and hips gently sway from side to side and her knees turn inward. Soon Alice is drawing odd looks from her classmates as they start to realize what's wrong: Alice has 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. Sometimes, the trope might be parodied by framing it as an actual dance, complete with music, and it may lead to an Accidental Dance Craze. 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.
- A billboard by Detroiter Travel Center has a stickman doing a potty dance right next to the words "Almost there!" and "Exit 32 East".
- 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.◊
- A segment of Episode 36 of Atashin'chi is dedicated to how you shouldn't wait to go because you won't be able to hide it anyway because of this inevitable trope.
- Bomberman Jetters: In episode 5 - "Underground, Go! Go! Go!", Shirobon does this throughout the episode during his Potty Emergency.
- Maruko in one of the Chibi Maruko-chan manga issues/Episode 297, where she starts doing "the duck walk".
- Sena does this in Episode 10 of The Comic Artist and His Assistants while having a Potty Emergency in a stuck elevator.
- 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 Detective Conan: Conan fakes a Potty Emergency during a case this way (in order to Pull the Thread on the suspect).
- 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 Mission 3 Episode 4 of Dirty Pair Flash, Yuri does a hands-free version of this due to there being no bathroom available in her dreamhouse (don't ask, it's a long story).
- In Elfen Lied, Lucy (as Nyuu) does this, before finally just going on the floor due to being unable to communicate her needs.
- In Episode 10 of Future Diary, Minene does a one-handed version of this due to needing to go while handcuffed to Nishijima.
- G-Spot Express: Sayaka does a hands-free version of this in OVA 1 due to needing to go while on the train. Alas, thanks to the main groper, she doesn't make it...
- Here Comes the Three Angels: Jun does a hands-free (and eventually a pants grabbing) version of this in Episode 5.
- In the one-shot adult manga I Got Myself into a Weird Situation and Awful Things Happened to Me, Kaya Okuno does this on her walk home before finally resorting to just going in the bushes.
- Ikkitousen: Bachou does a hands-free variant of this in Episode 5 of Xtreme Xecutor while being held captive.
- In Episode 2 of Interviews with Monster Girls, Machi's body does this after drinking too much juice.
- In Episode 7 of Kodomo No Jikan, Usa does the skirt-grab variant of this when needing to go while on a hike.
- Sae does a Seiza Squirm variant of this in Episode 3 of Magic User's Club while being trapped in a closet.
- Emma does a rather energetic one in Episode 4 of The Magnificent Kotobuki after exiting a plane.
- In Episode 5 of Maken-ki! Two, Aki does a one-handed version of this.
- Mitsudomoe: Mitsuba does this briefly while running out of her classroom in episode 5 of Zouryouchuu!.
- Eris does the dress-grab variant in Chapter 7 of the manga of Mushoku Tensei.
Rudy: Ojou-sama... if you need to use the bathroom, it's over there.
Eris: I know where it is!!
- Nekopara: Episode 1 has Cinnamon doing this while waiting for Maple to get out of the bathroom. The English dub even has Maple namedropping this trope when she gets out.
- Ojamajo Doremi:
- In episode 7 of the original seeies, Pop does this when she has to take a whizz extra bad due to having a bit too much ice cream.
- In episode 5 of Naisho, Pop does this on top of a desk while with Hana-chan's mind when suffering from a Potty Emergency, causing her classmates to panic. Luckily, Doremi takes her out before her Potty Failure ensues.
- The main Ojousama, Shizuka, does this in Chapter 2 of Ojousama wa Nigedashita! while waiting for Tooru to get out of the bathroom.
- Prison School:
- Ponko Tsundere na Osananajimi: In Chapter 2, Sanae does the pee-pee dance the whole time as she's introducing Kana to Shouta, both who finally call her out on holding it near the chapter's end.
- Usagi does the wriggly sitting-down variant in Act 31.5 and the corresponding manga chapter of Sailor Moon Crystal, much to Chibiusa's embarrassment.
- Saiyuki: Goku does one in the movie while the group is staying in the mansion of Houlan's master.
- Senryu Girl: Non-verbal Nanako will do this to get her point across when she needs to go.
- In Episode 8 of Shimoneta, Anna does this while toilet paper is being confiscated.
- Shuangsheng Lingtan: Xiaoyu does a shirt-pull variant at the start of the first episode.
- Eri does a Seiza Squirm version of this at the start of Episode 2 of Strange Dawn due to no available human facilities.
- 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.
- In the first chapter of Tail Chaser, the main Cat Girl does this after drinking way too much.
- Honoka does the legs-together sitting-down variant in Episode 18 of The Third: The Girl with the Blue Eye.
- Lala does a squirming sitting-down variant in OVA 6 of To Love-Ru. The bathroom/water-related commercials that play on TV do not help...
- Yo-Kai Watch: The Youkai Fidgephant causes people (and other Youkai) to do this by giving them Potty Emergencies. Fidgefant himself constantly is doing a variant of this, but by holding his trunk, which is full of water.
- In Episode 2 of Yosuga no Sora, Akira does a hands-free version of this while being unable to stop helping others.
- In Season 3's Episode 10 of YuruYuri, Akari does a hands-free version of this while visiting a house.
- The Green Apple Quicksteps card from Shadowrun, which removes an enemy runner from play for a turn.
- In Benefits of Old Laws Harry does the sitting-down version after Cormac McLaggen slips a dangerously-large amount of laxative into his morning pumpkin juice.
- A My Little Pony fanfiction set a year or two after Season Six when the Cake twins are about two called Pound and Pumpkin Cake's Adventures and Misadventures in Potty Training, Pumpkin does this in the chapter "Fluttershy and the Missing Potty" and later they both do this in the chapter "Two Foals, One Outhouse". Pound does this on a cloud in "The Great Cloud Flush".
- In Rainbow Dash vs the Toilet, which is a fanfiction of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic featuring the Mane Six and Luna as foals, Fluttershy does one of these at the end, while remarking that she "has to go potty really bad".
- This The Powerpuff Girls fanart has a normal-looking Bunny doing this while waiting in line with her sisters for the bathroom.
- There is a meme of Captain Kirk from Star Trek: The Original Series in a position which looks like this out of context. Spock is saying "Captain, if you need to go, go. Doing the pee-pee dance is not logical."
- The Hope of Family:
Theo's nappy was sitting on the stairs and the two of them walked up the stairs and picked it up. They went to see Theo as he stood near the gate doing a little dance.
"You need to go toilet?" John asked him as he got a nod, "You don't need a nappy?" he got a vigorous shake of the head for that.
- In The Loud House fanfiction A Load Of Bulk, Lucy walks with her legs clenched together because she has to pee.
- Us and Them: The side story "Right Lesson, Wrong Time" has one of Aeris and Sephiroth's sons doing this while Sephiroth tries to convince his other son to let his brother into the bathroom to use the potty.
- 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)
- Over the Hedge: Hammy the Squirrel does this after waking up from hibernation.
Hammy: I gotta go wee-wee! (zooms off)
- 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)
- An outtake exists from an Abbott and Costello film of Costello stopping a take by doing the dance because he had to pee.
- 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! People are dancin' up an' down on one leg out here!". This unfortunately leads to an Inconvenient Darkroom Illumination that ruins the trio's evidence.
- In this 2004 German Made-for-TV Movie Prinzessin Macht Blau, the titular character does the jiggling-up-and-down variation of this trope.
- A kid's book about the human body has the human figure doing this at the bottom of the page describing the kidneys and bladder.
Oh, it's time to go—NOW!
- According to Robert Parrish's autobiography (he was one of the Little Rascals), they called this a European, or You're a'-Peein'.
- A scene in Darth Vader and Son, a non-canon Star Wars picture book, depicts little Luke Skywalker doing a dance that is possibly 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.
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid:
- Fregly reportedly does this while screaming "JUICE!! JUUUUIIIICE!!!!" as part of his bizarre use of slang.
- When Rowley is having a Potty Emergency while trick-or-treating, Greg draws him doing this.
- When Greg has a potty emergency in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, he interprets his pig's circling motions as him also needing to go.
- In the Dinosaur Vs book "Dinosaur vs. the Potty", Dinosaur does a potty dance because he has to pee, which the narrator initially mistakes for a victory dance.
- Elmo's Potty Book: A scene has Elmo doing this while at the playground.
Sometimes Elmo is so busy playing that he doesn't remember to use the potty. But Elmo's mommy reminds him to listen to his body.
- In Men at Arms, the corrupt and bullying Captain Quirke kicks Gaspode The Wonder Dog. Gaspode, a dog capable of human-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.
- A young prince does this in the children's book Prince Farfenugen and the Potty Dance.
- In Horatio Hornblower novel The Commodore, Hornblower desperately needs to escape a reception line at an imperial dinner because he's realized the Finnish translator provided to him plans to assassinate the Czar (using pistols stolen from Hornblower) and provides "the only excuse he could think of" to the master of ceremonies to get away. Though that excuse is not explicitly named, that Hornblower hopping from one foot to the other in his haste adds to the effect makes it pretty clear.
- Time To: In "Time to Pee!", two girls and one boy are seen with their knees together while a boy is seen with his knees together and his hands on his crotch.
- Wiggles' First Day at School: Wiggles has a Potty Emergency after recess, but doesn't want to miss the next activity.
Everyone came inside and sat down, but Wiggles kept squirming! The teacher said, "Wiggles, do you need to go to the restroom?" And he said, "No, I don't want to!"And the children said, "No, no, Wiggles! When you're doing the Potty Dance, it's time to go!
- In Episode 6 of the South Korean TV show The City Hall, the extremely cute but thoroughly obnoxious councilwoman Min Joo-hwa does this during her Potty Emergency, since she has foolishly repeatedly insulted the owner of the only toilet in the area, who is a lot bigger than she is and is holding the key out of reach. Despite her utmost efforts to hold her pee, she eventually suffers a humiliating Potty Failure when Shin Mi-rae smacks her hard on the bottom, and she wets her smart yellow skirt in front of journalists.
- The Love Boat: Isaac does this when forced to share a cabin (and a bathroom) with the other male crew.
- 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.
- The MythBusters tested whether this method was more or less effective at staving off the inevitable, with inconclusive results. It works for some people, but not for others, depending on individual biologies.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- You Can't Do That on Television: A sketch in "Moving" has one of the kids come racing up to Lance while he is unpacking after a move and demanding to know where the toilet is packed: all the while doing the potty dance. Lance patiently explains that you don't take the toilet with you when you move house. The kid urgently informs him that previous occupants of this house had.
- A children's songwriter named Judy Pancoast wrote a song called The Potty Dance, which is about a school child who is doing this while having trouble paying attention at school, after drinking a lot of milk and water. It is described in the intro as "swinging your hips from side to side, hopping up and down, knocking your knees together and looking really uncomfortable".
- A song on YouTube, entitled the Pee Pee Song, goes "I really have to go pee. I'm doing the pee-pee dance." as part of its lyrics.
- In the song "My Willy Won't Go" by a person known as Koit who does Toilet Humor songs, the protagonist is seen doing this at the end while queueing at the toilet stall.
- "I Need to Pee", which is a song parodying The Little Mermaid 1994's "Under the Sea", has the line "I do this crazy dance or else I'm gonna wet my pants."
- One T-shirt slogan states that "Line dancing was invented by women waiting to use the restroom."
- Bear in the Big Blue House: Tutter does in the book version of "When You've Got To Go." The book even describes him as "dancing from side to side."
- In "Accidents Can Happen" from The Pajanimals, Cowbella instructs the other Pajanimals that "Cowbella says dance like crazy," during her Cowbella Says game. Squacky points out that he only dances like Cowbella is doing when he has to go to the potty, but she insists that she just likes dancing that way and that it's part of the game. Almost immediately afterwards, she has a Potty Failure.
- 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.
- A special Bad Moon adventure in Kingdom of Loathing parodies Nobody Poops by having your character suddenly realize that you've never emptied your bladder, ever. The resulting effect increases item drops, because dancing always increases item drops in this game.
- Persona 4: Yosuke dances around because he has to go to the bathroom when the protagonist gets himself stuck inside a TV in the beginning.
- Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2: The boy with the bedwetting problem in the "Bambina" stage will do this if you perform poorly.
- 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.
- The Sims: Sims do this and yell at the player to get their attention so the player can direct them to the restroom.
- 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.
- An app designed to help toilet train children has the protagonists do this while saying "I really have to go".
- Children do this while standing in the bathroom line if their Restroom need is Critical in Zoo Tycoon 2. Adults do so occasionally also, but they're not as demonstrative about it.
- In The Urinal Game, trying to leave on level three has the message "don't just stand there dancing around".
- Early on in ClockUp's Euphoria, Rika does the skirt-grab variant of this trope while being trapped with the others.
- In Lovely Day of Girlfriends & Me, Yuka does the skirt-grab variant of this while on a date with Shou, before finally just going on the ground.
- Chibi Jaune is stuck doing one as people get in the door ahead of him, but he doesn't want to admit to Pyrrha why he's acting like that.
- Neopets: In the game "Petpetsitter", the Petpets who need to pee will hold their legs together, sweat, tremble, and make whiny noises.
- Wakko during the, well, Potty Emergency Trope Namer Animaniacs cartoon.
- 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.
- Beavis And Butthead both do this in "Take A Number" while waiting for a Port-a-Potty.
- 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.
- 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".
- Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood:
- Prince Wednesday in "Prince Wednesday Goes to the Potty". Teacher Harriet lampshades this. Daniel gets one in that same episode too.
Teacher Harriet: I can see you're wiggling around a little bit. Do you have to go to the potty?
- Daniel while at the music store in "Daniel Goes To The Potty". His father lampshades it as well.
Daniel's Father: Is that a dance move?
- Prince Wednesday in "Prince Wednesday Goes to the Potty". Teacher Harriet lampshades this. Daniel gets one in that same episode too.
- In the Fairly Oddparents episode "Crime Wave" Mom and Dad decide to have a prune juice drinking contest after they lock Timmy in the bathroom to force him to take a bath. Towards the end of the episode they are both doing a potty dance as they try to get back in.
- In the first episode of Freakazoid!, Duncan does this while Dex is holed in the bathroom after being surprised by his new Super-Powered Alter Ego; amusingly, despite being a Big Brother Bully, Duncan says "I have to make tinky!".
- 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.
- Loopy did this in KaBlam! due to Larry being in the bathroom too long... he recently got muscular, and was admiring himself.
- Littlest Pet Shop (2012): Sunil does this in "Sweet (Truck) Ride", and Zoe does this in "The Very Littlest Pet Shop".
- Pinkie Pie does this in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Last Round-Up" after a long train ride.
- Nina does this in every episode of Nina Needs to Go!, where pretty much every episode, she has a Potty Emergency.
- In The Penguins of Madagascar, Mort does it in in "Friend In A Box" after drinking a lot of lemonade given to him by Kowalski and Julien. Julien remarks 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.
- Pingu does this in "Pingu's Lavatory Story".
- Recess: Mikey, after T.J. makes him drink water from a hosepipe.
- 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.
- Chuckie does this at the end of the Rugrats episode "A Dose of Dil", and again at the beginning of "Potty-Training Spike".
- 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 "Hello Doggie!" from Sid the Science Kid, Gerald does one while Gabriella is pretending to be a veterinarian and they think he's pretending to be a dog telling her that he needs to go to the bathroom, as they've been learning about animal communication. He wasn't pretending, though, he really does need to go to the bathroom.
- The Simpsons:
- Homer Simpson needs to go to pee really badly after drinking way too much crab juice. He clutches his hands between thighs and starts hopping. Moments later he's desperately rolling about the bonnet of his car and pressing his legs together. He also hops up and down in the elevator as he tries to reach the bathroom.
- Otto is mesmerized by Ralph's Potty Dance in "How The Test Was Won".
- In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "SpongeBob vs. The Patty Gadget", Patrick is not celebrating SpongeBob's victory over the Patty Gadget because he has to go to the bathroom, and is visibly doing a potty dance.
- Stōked: Emma does this in "Fast Times when the Rip Tide's High" when trying to find someone to look after the surfboard exhibit for her while she runs to the bathroom.
- 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.
- In Tutenstein, this is the first thing the titular character does after waking up from the dead.
- In an 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 Winston's Potty Chair, Winston does this while he listens to some music playing on the radio. His mother sees this and asks him if he is just dancing or if he needs to go to the bathroom. Winston tells her, "Potty!", and she tells him to hurry and use the bathroom before he has an accident.
- In Legoland in Windsor near one of the toilets, there are two Lego men 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.
- A How-to YouTube channel maker has a video called "How to Do the Need to Pee Dance", which has two professional dancers called Adrianne and Zach relaying the scientific theories on why some humans do this and doing a version that would be the most effective to this theory. They then combined the theories to create the "Ultimate Need to Pee Dance". It really looked like a dance!