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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. 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.

No Real Life Examples, Please

Examples of Jar Potty include:

Comic Books

  • 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 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 uses a beer bottle. 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.
  • 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. Big Ben Healy is the one who ends up taking a sample of Junior's little concoction.
  • 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 bottle.


  • 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 Ender's 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).
  • Ben Starling uses this during the road trip in Paper Towns.

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 subverts the trope. As a part of their failed attempt to round the Cape of Good Hope, Blackadder and Co. have run out of water and are reduced to drinking their own urine, so they piss into cups for the purpose. Then just before Blackadder takes a sip they reach land.
  • 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.
  • Showed up in a first-season Myth Busters 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.

Video Games

  • The "Meet the Sniper" trailer for Team Fortress 2 shows him doing this, and in-game you can unlock his pee jars as a secondary weapon (called "Jarate").

 "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!"

  • 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.


  • 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.

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 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 doesn't want to leave the stage, 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.

Western Animation

  • 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 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.
  • Seems to be the case in Teen Titans Go!, where Jynx 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; Jynx adopts a sly look, picks it up, says "I'll show you", and then, declaring the word, does a no-lie actual Confetti Drop.
  • One episode of Family Guy has Peter's parrot reveal he peed in an empty Snapple bottle.
  • The Bob's Burgers episode "Food Truckin" features a song about living on the road, with one of the lyrics mentioning peeing in a jug.
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