Potty Failure

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Someone get this unfortunate young lady a clean skirt. Preferably a brown one.

Dr. Finegarten: Coogan, come over here and help!
Coogan: I can't, I'm peeing!
Dr. Finegarten: Well, pee your way over here and help me move Felix!

—Blake Edward's S.O.B.

When a Potty Emergency goes past critical, you get Potty Failure.

Essentially, Potty Failure is when a character wets him/herself, soils him/herself or both and the act is Played for Laughs. This is a common type of Toilet Humour.

May also happen if people hear a joke so funny that they have to pee themselves, or to anyone who's the victim of a Laxative Prank.

Compare Bring My Brown Pants, when this happens to a character whose loss of control is fright-induced. Also Compare Urine Trouble and Tinkle in the Eye, for non-house-broken pets and children. Finally see No Dead Body Poops loss of control upon death.

No real life examples, please; All The Tropes does not care to squick its readers.

Examples of Potty Failure include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Elfen Lied Yuka and Kouta can't tell what is wrong when Nyuu starts showing signs of pain and moving desperately, until she ends up peeing on the floor.
  • Futaba-Kun Change!: Futaba is participating in a beauty contest. The Rival puts laxatives in her tea. Some other contestants, who don't like Futaba either, deliberately drink the unattended tea to annoy her. I think you can guess where this is going.
  • In Ojamajo Doremi
    • There's a scene where Pop is taking her first trip alone and doesn't make it to the restroom in time. Fortunately, Doremi is watching from the shadows and conjures a magical washing machine (the scene ignores the fact that Pop's legs would need washing too...)
    • In another episode, Doremi's fairy Dodo wets the bed.
    • In an episode of Naisho, Pop wonders what it is like to be Hana, and the two switch bodies. When Hana is in Pop's body, Doremi excuses her out, and then Hana (who is in Pop's body) wets herself.
  • In Naruto, the title character in a half hour special has diarrhea and every time he has a chance to go he is interrupted by someone or something—eventually at the end he just lets it go.
  • After failing to get away from Broly long enough to go to the washroom in the Dragon Ball Z Movie Broly: Second Coming Trunks is captured by Broly and is unable to hold it any more.
    • Bulma pees herself in the first episode of Dragon Ball, right after Goku rescues her from a monster that attacked her while she was trying to find privacy to pee in the first place. The same scene is in the manga.
  • In Sailor Moon, Chibiusa wets the bed at one point. Since she was sleeping in the same bed as Usagi that time, Usagi had to clean it up and Shingo teased her for it. This also triggers a flashback in which Chibiusa recalls how she once wet her bed at home in Crystal Tokyo and expected to be punished, but her mother Usagi's adult self comforted her instead.
  • A Bleach Omake has Vice-Captain Tetsuzaemon Iba desperately needing to use the bathroom. His captain (an anthropomorphic wolf) directs him to the bathroom from where he just came from, but when Tetsuzaemon sees a dog peeing on a post, he immediately assumes that was what his captain was talking about and runs out of time. The actual human bathroom was in fact next to the post.
  • Chi's Sweet Home has preschooler Yohei having an accident at the same time his mother is litter training Chi. Chi herself simply fails at first to grasp that her litter box is just that.
  • The Ecchi anime Fight Ippatsu Juuden Chan has become noted mainly for its heroine wetting herself frequently, usually when scared or struck.
  • Subverted in a chapter of Ichinensei Ni Nacchattara, Iori (a seventeen year old boy in the body of a seven year-old girl), falls asleep in class and wakes up wet. He freaks and has to work up the guts to confess this fact to the teacher. Only after he does so is it learned he never wet himself at all, merely fell asleep under a leaky sprinkler nozzle.
  • An early chapter of Bunny Drop focused on a developing case of bedwetting by six year old Rin. While a good part of it had to do with stress from her recent issues, Rin also confessed that she was scared to get up and go to the bathroom at night by herself. In that same chapter, Daikichi admitted to having done it off and on until fourth grade.
  • In Girls Bravo Fukuyama blackmails Kirie into competing in his all girls fighting tournament with an embarrassing picture of her from when she was little.
  • Suneo of Doraemon is a bedwetter and has to wear diapers to bed.
  • In Kamen no Maid Guy, Liz wets her bed after having a nightmare about Kogarashi and his crows. It's later implied that these nightmares are recurring, when she shows up at a shrine looking for a way to stop it from happening.
  • She held out as long as she could, but this eventually happened to Tachi the first time she participated in one of Nana & Kaoru's bondage-based "breathers."
  • There was once this was humourously applied in Detective Conan: Eri got Kogoro Bound and Gagged on his sofa, and while Eri was out with Ran and Conan, Kogoro complained about Potty Emergency... When they came back, they noticed a strange smell from the sofa, which Kogoro said was "dog pee."
  • During some unspecified time in his early childhood, Ranma ½'s macho, self-assured protagonist wet the bed. And his father took a picture, too, which he later pulled out while Ranma underwent psychological training to maintain a "soul of ice" needed for a new ultimate technique. Needless to say, Ranma did not maintain an icy anything.
    • Not actual bedwetting, but there was one early time when Nabiki dumped cold water on Ranma while he was sleeping so she could take pictures of his girl form (to sell them to the boys at school), then she dumps warm water on Ranma to turn her back into a boy. Hilarity Ensues when Ranma, who surprisingly slept through all that, wakes up after a short while... and thinks he did wet the bed.
  • Implied at the end of episode 8 of So Ra No Wo To. Kanata suffered a Potty Emergency while having to wait for a phone call, when someone finally relieves her so she can relieve herself, she runs into Noel, is knocked to the ground and knows she's doomed if she tries to move. Cue Filicia and Kureha arriving in time to see her in distress and help her up to her feet.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, England is fast asleep at one of the meetings. In his dream, he flashes back to when America was little, scolding him for wetting the bed again.
  • A minor one happens in Mahou Sensei Negima, when the group ends up high in the air. After somewhat safe landing Konoka jokes how she almost wet herself... right next to clearly embarrassed Yue.
  • Happens a few times in Berserk. It's justifiable for the most part, since if you were faced with any one of the Eldritch Abominations presented in the series, you'd piss yourself too. However, there was one part that was Played for Laughs, while Guts was fighting some snow demons to protect Casca and she left his protective grasp. After it was over, he wondered why she went away so suddenly... Turned out she picked a great time to go number one.
  • Frequently happens to Mikan in Go! Go! Itsutsugo Land. After Kinoko inadvertently caused her to wet herself in kindergarten, Mikan spends the second half of the series trying to put Kinoko in situations of both artificial wetness and genuine wetness. Her plans inevitably backfire, causing her more embarrassment than what she had started with. The dub censors any wetting and changes the embarrassing fact to, "spilling juice on herself," which to be fair she actually does on more than one occasion.
  • The President of the United States -- a George W. Bush Expy -- loses control of his bladder in the face of attacks by the I-Jin during the course of Read or Die.

Comic Books

  • Johnny the Homicidal Maniac has this in one of the Meanwhile's (Although due to the Director's Cut, only containing the plot related stuff, you'll now find it in Squee's Wonderful Big Giant Book of Unspeakable Horrors), where a woman has a date with someone who suffers an extreme Potty Failure.
  • Taken to literally insane extremes by Maxie Zeus in Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth - he strews his stool around, convinced he is fertilizing the barren Earth. In the context of his particular delusion (He thinks he is God) it is in fact a sacred act. Holy shit, Batman!
    • Before that, Two-Face pees himself because trying to make a decision on whether to go to the bathroom using tarot cards takes a very long time.
  • According to a Kevin Smith Batman arc, Batman had a "bladder spasm" during Batman: Year One.


  • National Lampoon's Van Wilder, when Gwen Pearson puts "Colon Blow" into Richard Bagg's drink.
  • Escape To Athena (1979). The POWs slip a laxative into the Germans' food because We Need a Distraction while the Greek Resistance take the camp.
  • In Trainspotting, Spud passes out drunk on his girlfriend's bed, and wakes up the next morning to find out he's shit in said bed.
  • Happens rather messily to Tucker Max in I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell.
  • In Along Came Polly, Ben Stiller's friend (played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman) informs him that they have to leave a nightclub immediately because he "sharted."
  • Subverted in Dumb and Dumberer When Harry Met Lloyd. Harry suffers from a Potty Emergency and rushes to the bathroom. He then digs into his pants, pulls something brown and slimy out, and eats it. It turns out to be a melted chocolate bar.
    • Can't mention that one without including the original. It happens while they are riding their Moped to the ski resort.
  • Played for Drama in Frozen when Parker pees her pants after holding it in all night.
  • Deliberately invoked (on his rival's shoes!) by Jack Nicholson in Wolf.
  • In Major Payne, the six-year-old cadet tells the titular character he needs to use the bathroom only to be told to hold it until he wets himself.
  • Cletus Klump soils his pants in the remake of The Nutty Professor after farting too hard.
  • In The 51st State, Elmo offers a gang of skinheads a choice between two different narcotics: a bowl of blue pills, and a bowl of red pills. He tricks them into eating several red pills, which turn out to be powerful laxatives.
  • In the Christian movie Tribulation from the Apocalypse film series, young Calvin Canboro wets his pants while he and his brother Tom wait for their sister Eileen to finish her prayer to God about the tree she carved their names into. Years later, Calvin can Never Live It Down.
  • In Year One, the characters played by Jack Black and Michael Cera are chained up in a dungeon in one scene. Cera's character is chained up upside down, and he yells that he has to pee. Pretty soon, he pees all over his face.
  • This happens to the bride from Bridesmaids who takes a dump, in the middle of a street, after they all contract food poisoning. Made worse by the fact that she was trying on an expensive wedding dress at the time.
  • Billy Madison: Billy helps a classmate who peed in his pants.

Live Action TV

  • There was The Young Ones episode where Rik tried to commit suicide by overdosing on pills, not realising that pills in question were laxatives. Hilarity Ensues.

Neil: Vyvyan,can you actually kill yourself with laxative pills?
Vyvyan: I dunno Neil,but I'm gonna stick around to find out!

  • There's an episode of Friends which ends with Joey having a Potty Failure whilst a famous director is hugging him. It's a long story...
    • The gist of it was during his auditions, Joey noticed that he seemed to do better when he really had to go to the bathroom, thus every time he went to auditions, he'd make sure he had to go and hold it in so his performance wouldn't falter. As stated above, Joey pushed his luck and suffered wet pants when the director hugged him.
  • In an episode of Hollyoaks, India eats a pizza that Hayley has laced with laxatives. This leads to her winning the contest for Josh's car when she has an accident and causes everyone else to flee in disgust.
  • Tommy Gavin's father from Rescue Me suffered from bed wetting in Season 3.
  • Subverted in House when a patient tells a few doctors that he accidentally wet the bed. When then turn him over to look at his sheets, they're shocked to find out that he was really bleeding out of his ass.
  • In an early ER episode, Benton asks his girlfriend to look after his aging mother for a night, and she chews him out the next morning for not warning her that the old woman suffers from incontinence.
  • Justified in Bear in the Big Blue House episode "When You've Gotta Go." Ojo has an accident and Bear cleans up, telling her that accidents happen to everyone.
  • Twice in Degrassi's tenth season. The first by Jenna, who's been abusing diet pills; the second, by Holly J., who ignores what she believes to be Definitely Just a Cold. It isn't definitely just a cold.
  • A girl on MTV's Next wet her pants - and left her entire chair dripping - during a date, because she really had to go already but was given no opportunity to pee once she was called off the Next Bus. She was Nexted for this.
  • Number 32 on VH-1's 100 Most Shocking Moments in Music: when Fergie wet her pants on stage at the San Diego Street Scene concert.
  • On Law and Order UK, when Ronnie Brooks' corrupt ex-partner blasts him for turning him in, he cites the many favors he'd done to cover for Ronnie during his drinking days, including, "loaned you a pair of trousers when you'd pissed your own".
  • A female contestant did this once on The Price Is Right while playing Plinko.
  • On United States of Tara, Tara's dad thinks he is wetting the bed, but they find out that one of her alters, Gimme, (aka the poncho goblin) was sneaking in at night and peeing on him.
  • One Crank Yankers sketch involves the mentally handicapped character "Special Ed" tearfully phoning a health club to apologize for peeing in the pool. The manager acknowledges his apology, and kindly reassures him that it's okay...which prompts Ed to happily shout, "I peed in your pool! YAAAAAAYYY!" repeatedly.
  • In Episode 6 of the South Korean TV show The City Hall, the extremely cute but thoroughly obnoxious councilwoman Min Joo-hwa suffers this. While visiting protagonist Shin Mi-rae's bar with several journalists, she suffers a Potty Emergency and asks to use the toilet. Shin Mi-Rae takes the opportunity to get back at her, holding the key to the toilet out of reach and gloating about how good it is to abuse power. After making her squirm and Potty Dance for a while, she gives her the key...and then smacks her on the bottom, causing her to wet her skirt in front of the journalists with a squeal of distress.
  • In Veep, Vice President Selina Meyer suffers this at the end of "Frozen Yoghurt". Suffering from diarrhoea, she visits a frozen yoghurt shop for publicity. The owner's elderly mother is using the toilet when the inevitable Potty Emergency happens, resulting in Selina taking a massive dump in her dress in the car. One of her colleagues, understandably, chooses to walk instead.
  • In episode 2 of the Thai TV show Kom Payabaht, attractive student Pia becomes desperate to poo and seeks relief in a shop toilet. Unfortunately for her, the shop owner barges in in front of her, leaving her unable to wait any longer and forced to dump in her blue uniform skirt with a cry of despair.


  • The song "Ranchera" by Chilean group Fiskales Ad Hoc is about a guy who pisses in his pants and can't go to the bathroom to, uhm, "evacuate" the rest since he's stuck with his Girl of the Week.
  • Actually averted in the song "Mi agüita amarilla" ("My yellow water") by Spanish group Los Toreros Muertos. It's not about a guy leaking his "yellow water" like this, and more about a guy who's bored while peeing and tries to imagine where does the pee go.
  • Da Yoopers' song "Diarrhea" is an apology for why the singer has to break his date. He thought that "it was only gas..." By the end, he's come up with a scheme to stop it.

Video Games

  • In The Sims, if your little Sims don't get sent to the bathroom quickly enough, they leave puddles, and their stats crash from the embarrassment.
    • Not just little Sims. Hilarity often ensues.
    • This is one method of torturing Sims.
    • Sometimes they do it on their own despite plentiful available bathrooms and the best intentions of the player.
    • And it sometimes happens without the Potty Emergency coming first, if a Sim is subjected to Extreme Tickling.
  • The objective in one level of Parappa the Rapper is to prevent one of these. Do badly and it starts raining. Do well and a toilet starts chasing you. Fail the level and a cutscene shows a rocket taking off inside the titular Rapper.
  • Being based off its own virtual pet toy, the first Digimon World game includes pooping as a factor the tamer has to take care of. Not getting in time to a nearby toilet will end up with the Digimon leaving a stool in place. Enough accidents and the digimon will turn into a Sukamon as punishment.
  • During the Horde quest in Silverpine Forest in World of Warcraft, you have to pour booze over some orc sea dogs who got whooped in battle for being stone cold sober. Sometimes they will say, "I may or may not have pissed myself."
  • Aloe of Quiz Magic Academy has some issues with bedwetting.
  • The priest who took care of Kylier from Yggdra Union mentions that she was a bed-wetter as a child.
  • Happens to prisoners in Prison Architect if their Bladder and Bowels needs go critical.

Web Comics

Gabe: Well, you used to roll with Doobie Howser back in the day.
Tycho: Yeah, and you used to wear your pants backwards like Kris Kross. Are you an expert at making people "Jump, Jump"?
Gabe: I only did that once.
Tycho: Why only once?
[Cuts to a flashback of Gabe in high school, standing next to a urinal, with his pants soaked in urine]

  • Chris Chan's evil counterpart Reldnahc suffers this in Sonichu 9, losing control of his bladder and bowels after Bionic the Hedgehog throws his curse of embarrassment back at him. He then flees, presumably to change his trousers. Possibly Self Deprecating Humor, since Chris has admitted to crapping his briefs on numerous occasions.

Web Original

  • The titular character in Erika's New Perfume, due to the effects of the titular Applied Phlebotinum, is totally incontinent.
  • Lupis from the rebooted Darwin's Soldiers Furtopia RP occasionally wets himself and spends a fair portion of the RP in diapers. Justified by the fact that he is four years old and not fully toilet trained.
  • Don't Shit Your Pants, a game revolving around creative ways to shit yourself... or not.
  • "Where will you be when your diarrhea comes back?" Hopefully, not in the hot tub.

Western Animation

  • Justified in Rugrats; Chuckie and Angelica (who has one when Chuckie goes to the bathroom properly for the first time) are at normal potty age, so it's natural to have at least one accident. Lou does mention that Stu took a lot longer, though.
  • In Total Drama Island, Izzy does this in the pool - on purpose!
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Pee Pee G's" had the girls freaked at the possibility that one of them is wetting the bed. This is subverted somewhat in that the answer is none of them: it was Mojo Jojo sneaking in during the night and pouring a bottle of water on the bed to screw with the girls' heads. However, when confronted, Mojo finds it so hilarious that he laughs until he "breaks his water bottle"
    • Bubbles, however, was confirmed to have been a bedwetter by the Professor in "Powerprof."
  • Patrick in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "The Fry Cook Games" after he's seen wearing yellow underwear: "You know, these were white when I bought them..."
  • An episode of KaBlam! had the hosts Henry and June as astronauts in spacesuits. Henry commented that he needed to use the bathroom and June asks why he doesn't just do what she did: Use her spacesuit like a real astronaut. June runs off embarrassed when Henry informs her that they aren't wearing real spacesuits, merely cheap Halloween costumes.

Henry:I think June just went where no cartoon character has gone before. In her pants!

    • Something similar happens in The Venture Brothers when Doctor Venture is informed that the spacesuits they were wearing did not, in fact, have a waste containment system.
  • Pingu often found himself surrounded by a telling yellow puddle. Oops.
  • In Dan Vs. "Traffic," Dan swears revenge on traffic in general, after various traffic jams keep him from getting home in time, if you know what I mean.
  • In Home Movies, Brendon keeps good-naturedly mocking classmate Junior Ahlberg, then gets karmic payback at the end of the show when a 'funny home video' show makes a big hit of his mom's tape where a younger Brendon sings and then wets himself. It gets shown repeatedly on the evening news.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer, trying to make Bart look happy on the Jumbotron, tickles him. Big mistake.
    • In another episode, Homer gets a chronic bedwetting problem, which he spends the whole episode trying to cure.
    • Also, Mr. Burns' incontinence has been mentioned in two episodes.
  • American Dad: In "An Incident At Owl Creek", Stan dines on a particularly greasy brisket at a neighbour's pool party, feels the urge to poop, and attempts a cannonball into the pool. Do the math.
    • An interesting side note: the ensuing Failure is actually the kickoff point for the rest of the episode.
  • In one episode of Hey Arnold!, Harold gets up to make fun of Phoebe for a previous incident in which she accidentally farted into a microphone in front of the whole school. Ironically, Harold ends up wetting his pants in front of the whole school, right after making fun of her.
  • The South Park episode "World Wide Recorder Concert" features the Brown Noise which, when heard, causes a person to lose control of their bowels. The boys slip this into the sheet music of rivals, but it accidentally gets added to the sheet music for the entire concert, which is being broadcast worldwide...

Reporter: Like the rest of the world, everyone here has crapped their pants. Some crapped themselves to death. And still others ...ruined perfectly good pairs of pants.

  • Bob's Burgers had one episode where Bob gets knocked down to the floor and lands on his ass, resulting in him soiling himself in front of everyone.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Brian in Love", Brian suffers from this problem.