the pee dance

Are you familiar with the pee dance? 

This primitive dance is first exhibited in those weeks months after the diapers come off. 


I see the dance and can interpret it accurately 100% of the time. 

Dance? What dance? 

Dancing resumes.

So I try that gentle suggestion method. It rarely works. 

He is firm.


I question.


He is more firm.



This is where I say something like "Okay, listen to your body and let me know…" 

I know my kid. He is independent. Stubborn. If I were to drag him to the bathroom right here it would set him back months. Years. He would likely never pee in a toilet again.  

So I wait while he listens to his body.






And then I go grab some dry clothes.  




Two years later and he still does the pee dance. No more accidents though. He can run faster now. That helps.

This entry was posted in crappy pictures, messy stuff, parenting, potty training. Bookmark the permalink.

105 Responses to the pee dance

  1. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this. I think I have post traumatic stress disorder from potty training.

  2. Char says:

    I’m in the middle of this right now! My daughter is out of diapers during the day but now that she is learning how to hold it she holds it all day until she is going to burst. Just like you I know better than to force the issue. So funny and true about the pee dance!

  3. Laura says:

    Oh man. Can’t wait for that.

  4. Krista says:

    My son does a slightly different variation on the pee dance. He does a pee jump. I can hear the jumping from the other side of the house and yell “Go pee, Miles!” from my location and it usually makes him remember “Oh yeah, I need to pee!” *sigh*

  5. Ariel K. says:

    I’m not even a parent and I know this dance all too well. Unfortunately, my shoe and I recently learned there’s also poop dance.

  6. Amanda Reed says:

    My daughter peed her pants in preschool twice and kindergarten once while playing at the sand table. She knew if she went to the bathroom, she’d never get her spot back. She’s almost 11 now and I still catch her doing the pee pee dance. Like mother like daughter… I tend to hold it til I’m going to explode, too. ๐Ÿ˜›

  7. Lisa Teeter says:

    My daughter is full on potty trained for about a year. But she always still does the potty dance. I will ask her, and ususaly she will respond with a, “no, I’m just excited…” but she does make it to the toilet with her underwear a tad wet–but wearable.

  8. Steph B. says:

    Hahaha I think you mean P(ee-pee)TSD!

  9. Melis says:

    HAHAHAHAHA! Yes. This.

    Except I can usually also tell because my son becomes exceptionally grouchy and/or mean in conjunction with his pee dance. So he usually does the pee dance in time out. Vicious.

  10. Andinell says:

    I’m having hell convincing DH he can’t *make* the kid sit on the potty.

  11. Delia says:

    Yup, my two tear old daughter has the pee pee wiggle. When she gets really involved with something she will just wiggle and squirm. She is also super stubborn and resists all ideas that she might have to go potty leading her to hold it until bursting. If I notice her wiggling I will say something like ” Man, I really I have to go potty.” which is usually followed by “Me too..I have to go first!” Haha, works every time.

  12. Leigh says:

    Ohhh I LOVE that idea. My son is just a tad (ok VERY) stubborn, but also competitive! This might work wonderfully!!!

  13. K says:

    My 4 yr old still does this. Kind of a squirm/crotch grab. And firmly denies it. Usually reassurance that I will stop his brother from taking whatever he’s playing with allows him to admit the need!

  14. says:

    If I could draw your pictures mine would look a little different, but it is still a pee dance. Dear sweet 3 yr old daughter can hold her bladder longer than anyone I have ever seen. Her pee dance is sitting “criss cross” & wiggling her tooshy back & forth. Same conversation, different dance! Love it!

  15. heather says:

    Interesting fact: Those who practice EC (elimination communication or ‘diaper-free’) will tell you that babies do the ‘pee-pee dance’, or some variation on it, right from birth. It’s not some magic instinct that only turns on after you take off the diapers, it’s an instinct that’s always there. We just kind of don’t usually look for it until they’re older.

    But that’s one of the main ways that EC parents know when to give potty-tunities — that way the baby gets kind of squirmy and restless and grumpy. Giving them potty-tunities early on helps them make the connection between that feeling, and the feeling of relief when they pee. So the transition to always going on the potty (and self-directed) — while not utterly without hiccups of course — is usually pretty easy.

    But EC’d from birth or conventionally diapered until they’re 4, I think we’ve all seen the pee-pee dance, and the denial thereof heh.

  16. Rhonda E says:

    OMG! This is us RIGHT NOW! Here I thought it was just my kid! We’re just conquering the potty, and I’ve given up on asking. He gets SOOOO mad when I ask! You’d think I just asked him to light his pants on fire. We’re starting preschool next week, and I was worried about his refusal to go when asked, but seeing now that it’s not just us, I feel LOTS better ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you!!

  17. Laura BDz says:

    We eventually learned that “do you need to pee” meant “are you actually exploding with pee right now”– to which the answer is almost always “no.” So we stopped asking that question and started requesting that he “go empty his tank” instead. This worked a jillion times better. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Great idea! Why didn’t I think of that? lol

  19. Sonya Jones says:

    I have the opposite problem with my 7 year old. She has to check out every bathroom in town and makes running errands impossible! It then sets off a chain reaction with all three kids.

  20. Stacy says:

    Just had the same conversation with my 7 year old as he bounced around doing the “pee dance”….LOL

  21. RC says:

    Genius! I can’t wait to try this!

  22. Kim says:

    LOL just told my 5 year old “JUST GO PEE ALREADY!” after watching him play with one hand grabbing his crotch for what seemed like 20 minutes!

  23. Tillerman says:

    LOL. Exactly the stage that my 3-year-old grandson is at!

  24. maggiemoo says:

    Mine, too! Thankfully my 2 girls are old enough to by themselves! My 7 year old has even been “tempted” by a port-a-potty!

  25. Myssie says:

    OMG the hand on hip cell is so very funny!
    I still tell my 1st grade son each day before school “Listen to your body. If it tells you to go pee, go. Your toy/project/art/playmate will be there when you get back.”

  26. Mala says:

    I’m with you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. jiye says:

    My daughter now screams “No!! I’m dancing!!” while clearly doing the pee dance.

  28. Megan Coates says:

    I have yet to determine if what my son is doing is actually a pee dance or merely him doing his usual squirming. Of course, if we ask him if he needs to pee the answer is no. But he’s very good at taking himself to the bathroom. Then, when he’s done, he loudly exclaims for the WHOLE HOUSE to hear “I pee’d!” or “I pee’d and pooped!!”.
    Amber, btw, your artwork has gotten quite a bit better.

  29. Heather says:

    I think you have given the best/most accurate response there could possible be!

  30. Cynthia says:

    Ugh! I have that problem with my almost-four-year-old. And she still feels the need to completely strip down and leave he clothes lying on the floor of the public restroom. Ewwww!

  31. Amber Dusick says:

    Dang, really? Inevitable I think. I’m trying hard to keep it crappy but it is hard! (And my son announces it loudly every single time too!)

  32. Amber Dusick says:

    Cry now, laugh later? That is usually how it works for me. Notice I’m writing about the past. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  33. Jazmin says:

    Lol My son has never done the potty dance. He does the ” I’m gonna squeeze the life out of my penis to hold the pee in.” move. *sigh* Everything goes down like your photo’s, BUT we’re lucky enough to have pee spray everywhere once he takes he releases his death grip.

  34. Amber Dusick says:

    HA HA HA HA!!! Hilarious! We have that sometimes too!

  35. Becky F says:

    Ha ha! We also have what we call the poop shivers! When my daughter has to poop she shivers and gets goosebumps every couple of minutes until she goes.

  36. Laura says:

    Does this normally happen in your house or when you happen to be out in public? I work in a toy store and witnessed this very situation unfold before my eyes, only the exchange happened in Spanish. Since the mom figured I hadn’t understood what had happened (which I did because I happen to speak Spanish), she ran out of the store with her kid without letting any of us know that he had left a puddle of pee by the train set. Do most moms just ignore that their kid peed inside a store, or do the decent ones inform someone of the unfortunate incident?

  37. Lori says:

    I thought it was just my kid who grabbed himself and squirmed while absolutely denying that he had to pee! And I didn’t want to force a trip to the bathroom either, but I got scolded by our doctor last week :/

  38. JD says:

    Love this! Am I the only childless person reading this stuff and enjoying these cartoons? I hope not because this material is priceless. “It’s funny because it’s true!”

  39. Belinda says:

    I’ve discovered that the vehemence of denial is in exact opposition to the need to go – eg the more loudly they yell that they don’t need to go the more they actually do need to go. So if asking if they need to go gets a big tantrum in response I stop asking and simply take them to the bathroom pull down the undies and force them onto the toilet then I turn on the tap because my eldest will hold it until she is actually sobbing with the pain of it just to spite me but she cannot hold it with running water right beside her. They always stop screaming and crying the moment they let go of the pee and I stop feeling mean for having manhandled a screeching banshee into the bathroom and we’re all happy again for a few hours. Until the next time…

  40. Sprgtime says:

    Hahaha, so hilarious because it’s so true!
    This is why your humor rocks!

    BTW – for anyone currently in this stage, we escaped it by using “sneaky pee” ๐Ÿ™‚

    You see the peepee dance and observe, “I think there’s some sneaky pee trying to get you wet!”
    And whenever the kid gets wet you say, “Oh that sneaky pee is soooo sneaky! We’ll get you next time, sneaky pee! Next time we’re gonna put you in the toilet so we don’t get wet!”

    And then mock the pee when your kid does make it to the toilet “Hahaha, sneaky pee, we got you! You can’t get us wet now!”

    My kid would always deny having to go, but he loves putting sneaky pee in the potty and outsmarting it. haha

  41. Amber Dusick says:

    I LOVE “sneaky pee”! Thanks for this, humor and fun always works for me with them, totally using this one next time around. ๐Ÿ™‚

  42. foxes_garden says:

    Yes! We eventually figured out that every time my daughter started complaining about how cold she was and snuggling up to us, she needed to go poop within the next 15 minutes. That helped a lot during the potty-training #2 phase.

  43. sharon betts says:

    Every time I see my son do a dance I am all “you are doing a pee dance – go to the bathroom” and he ALWAYS turns to me and says “no it’s not a pee dance – i just like to daaaaaaaannnnnccee” and he adds arm movements and a little extra jiggy to try and cover the fact that he needs to go. Then he usually stops. Says “no i need to go”, pulls down his pants, WHERE HE IS STANDING, and runs off to the bathroom half naked, streaking through the house for all to see. This is, I might add, usually when we have company around.

  44. sharon betts says:

    Decent people inform and clean up after their child.

  45. sandra says:

    It’s as if you are living my life and drawing pictures about it. It’s kinda creepy actually how dead on you are.

  46. Rainyday says:

    So very, very true. That’s a well worn dance around here. And the poop dance is even more thrilling!

  47. Beth says:

    Too funny! I am always telling my son “listen to your body, pee and poop in the potty”. I really like the sneaky pee story too in the comment above. I’m definitely going to try to use that one with him.

  48. Jessica says:

    yes. that is exactly the way it is.

  49. Kelly says:

    I can only dream of the pee pee dance…right now my soon to be 3 year old will have NOTHING to do with the potty. I believe he will be in college still wearing diapers….

  50. Mel says:

    Hahahahaha.. I am 32 and still do the pee dance – I never really notice – am normally too busy doing stuff for my 14mo and dog to realise I am jiving around in the kitchen; but when my mum is here she is always going “just stop – you can finish that in a minute – go to the toilet!”

  51. AngieB says:

    Awesome! I am stealing your “sneaky pee” technique too!
    I recently discovered a “winning” technique for my son. I told him I want him to “win” the pee race. I said he has to be super fast and make it to the potty before the pee comes out. He’s all about Cars and racing so this really works for him. But I still catch him doing the pee dance sometimes and that’s when i say “Go buddy, win the race, go super fast, beat that pee!”

  52. Pippa says:

    This is so true! I love your posts as my 5 and 10 year old still do these things. I can tell by the look on my daughters face when she needs to go. Why do they hang on? *sigh* And my son does a little dance when he needs to go.
    I love your stuff.

  53. Carah says:

    Hahaha, this works for us too.

  54. Paige says:

    Okay, my kids just went through the pictures with me, reading the bubbles, and they LOVED it!

  55. Tessa says:

    Ugh…I remember those days with #’s 1&2. Now I have a 17 mo due to start training in a few months. :-p Soooo not looking forward to it!!! My daughter would go to the potty all day at Mama & Papa’s but the second she walked into our house…immediate pee puddle. Hope this one potty trains better. Please God don’t let me have a stubborn potty trainer as with #1.

  56. natalie says:

    I did the pee pee dance the day after I had my son and peed my damn pants! No one warned me about the complete lack of bladder control right after giving birth!

  57. Tonya says:

    Oh, the pee pee dance happens many times a week in our house — both with both my kids. The 4-year-old I understand, but I was hoping the other one (almost 7) would have outgrown it by now — at least both mine do now make it to the bathroom in time (sometimes just barely)

  58. sarah says:

    my mom does the pee dance all the time haha

  59. christina says:

    I tell my daughter “mommy needs help on the potty” just to get her in the bathroom when I know she needs to go. She is in the “helpful” stage so this works great!!!

  60. Laura says:

    Genius. I’m trying that tomorrow!

  61. Furchildmama says:

    Me too Mel! And after having a super quick birth a couple of years ago, sometimes I don’t actually manage to make it in time :-0

  62. Jennifer says:

    The funny thing is, my Granddaughter is in the stage when she thinks she needs to go in every toilet. I am convinced she saves it and lets only a little go each time. It is so funny. I think we have been in almost every toilet between here and the next town. Good thing I am Grandma and much more patient. ๐Ÿ™‚

  63. Natasha says:


    This is at the stage I am too. My litte guy is so stubborn, he has to tell me he needs to go or other wise he won’t and I’ll sit down and he’ll be like I need to pee mum!!

  64. Cheryl S. says:

    So true! Just this morning my 6 year old came FLYING out of her room and damn near knocked me over yelling “I have to go potty!” I still don’t understand what the attraction is about waiting until the last second! (In her defense, this morning she was asleep right before she came running!)

  65. Robyn says:

    I actually have a *problem* with a similar situation. I watch my nephews. A delayed 4yr old and a 3 yr old and my son is 3 (just a month younger than my nephew). They’re all on the tail end of potty training. When I tell one to go to the bathroom, ask if one needs to go, or one says they need to go the other two say “Oh! I need to go potty too!” Then they all bum-rush the bathroom in an effort to get to the potty first and start arguing over who is going to go.

  66. Jill R. says:

    Ha ha! Don’t forget about the poo-poo shift. May or may not be accompanied by odors. (My 11-year-old son STILL does this!)

  67. Dusty says:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!! I love it!

  68. Stella says:

    Don’t we all. Don’t we all… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  69. Lynn says:

    When we were learning about the “stubborness” of peeing vs.holding it, we bagan implementing the “pause it” phrase to whatever they were doing – TV, Games, Little People, play kitchen, outside… whatever. They started yelling, “Pause Please” and then run off catching it ‘just in time’. We make good on the request so they know they didn’t MISS anything. They are 8 and 5 and this will be a part of our lives for years, I can tell… talk about stubborn! We still have tinkle accidents (usually when they are laughing hard)….sheesh….

  70. cindy says:

    Going through this right now! I love “listen to your body”. I’m going to try that! In the meantime, I laugh along with you.

  71. cindy says:

    But I should add that I’m proud to have heard some fumbling around at 11:30 the other night and it was my son sitting on his potty in his room. He woke up and got himself where he needed to. = )

  72. Kelli says:

    My boy is so stubborn. We ended up just waiting until he said he was potty trained. One night he was in the tub and said ” I need a wee! I dont want to do it in the bath!!!” So he used the toliet. That was it. Never looked back. Mind you, He was a few months from starting Receptions (Kindergarten in the US ) and was four. I was sure he would go to school in nappies.

  73. Melly says:

    ahaha so true! I notice the pee dance too, asking if he needs to pee is usually followed by ‘No, I’m just dancing’. A few minutes later this is followed by a frantic dash to the bathroom, and a ‘can’t get my pants off cos I’m now past bursting’ dance. Sometimes we make it, sometimes we don’t.
    I now say ‘You better not pee on my clean toilet!’, to which he jumps up and yells ‘I’m peeing on your clean toilet!’.
    It works, but I don’t know why?

  74. Judy D says:

    For real!!! This is no lie.

    We were at a furniture store last night. He starts the pee dance. I ask the question. He shakes his head and resumes the dance. Then I just pick him up and rush to the restroom. He soils my shirt.

    Lessons learned:
    1. Let him dance
    2. If a pick up is necessary, face him away.

  75. You just illustrated every morning of my life! I don’t know why, but my 5yo refuses to believe that virtually everyone on the planet pees right after they get out of bed in the morning!

  76. it’s funny, but yet it’s not because I lived it, but Amber; that’s what you do best!

  77. Jade =) says:

    Thank you, I am not the only one that experiences this. My son is FIVE and he does this. He just doesn’t wanna stop whatever it is he is doing, so he’ll start with the dance. I go through everything you drew, except yeah, he’s old enough to run fast and not mess himself. But mannnn, it’s so annoying that I have to ask him over and over when I can clearly SEE he needs to go. JUST GO, KID!!!

  78. Fiona Hall says:

    I’m a high school teacher, and I use the pee dance as a test, to make sure they *really* need to go, rather than just bored.

    When a student asks if they can go to the bathroom, I say “ask me again when you are doing the pee dance”. If they say “huh? the what?” then I know they are just bored. If they really need to go they would know what I mean!

  79. Marta says:

    My son’s been potty trained for over a year now and I definitely still see him do the potty dance occasionally. Maybe they do it just for old time’s sake =)

  80. heather says:

    When my son was 4, and *mostly* potty-trained (yeah, 4, one of the reasons I turned to EC when my daughter was born) he had an accident in a drugstore with NO preliminary warning pee dance at all. I told them — rather shamefacedly, but they were very nice about it.

  81. Michelle says:

    Nope you are not and in fact I’m sitting here doing my own pee pee dance because I don’t want to stop reading long enough to go potty myself lol.

  82. Trish says:

    Yes, Yes! Both of mine who r 9 and 7 still do the Pee Pee Dance (as we call it), and they still deny needing to go when I ask! I just say ok and turn around, that’s when I’ll hear the stampede as they run to the bathroom!

  83. Krista says:

    My daughter does this and will even say she’s just dancing thankfully without the accident though

  84. Jolleen says:

    My “baby” will be 13 YEARS in October. She STILL does the “dance” and she sadly still has the cuteness that turns me into a mommy zombie too when she p!$$es$ me off…I love her though.

  85. Michele says:

    My almost 5yo does that too. Sometimes she will be up for almost 2hrs before the ‘dancing’ starts. Then of course, a mad dash paired with “I GOTTA GO PEE!!!”. Some times I think she won’t drink just so she won’t have to pee.

  86. Emily says:

    In my experience, the pee-pee dances ends around age 7. Some kids go longer, of course… ๐Ÿ™‚

  87. Mandy says:

    My four year old will do the pee pee dance, then right before it gets really bad she’ll start walking all hunched over holding her knees together. As soon as I see the dance I say go potty, I get the I don’t need to. She starts hunching over, I say go potty it’s getting worse and when she says no I ask why she’s walking like that and her response is always I’m just pretending to be an old lady. Really? Lol, sometimes she makes it, sometimes a little comes out. Sigh, one day I hope we can get out of this “go pee/no/underwear wet” routine!

  88. humanmama says:

    That is so super true! I even think I have a pee dance by now. My 5-year-old is still like this–sometimes she takes my advice but makes it sound like she was actually thinking that all along–“Oh, yeah, mom, I did have to go, you guessed right! Ha ha!”

  89. Lisa says:

    ROFL!!! Love the disclaimer at the very end!

  90. Margaret B. says:

    Yep, my 8 year old still does “the dance.” When he insists vehemently that he doesn’t have to go I tell him to go pull down his pants to show his penis the toilet and see what his penis thinks. Then when he pees, I always ask, “I thought you didn’t have to go pee… where’d that water come from?.” His standard reply is, “Hmmm… it must be raining in here.”

    *LOVE* your blog!

  91. Kathy says:

    My 4 yr old grandson does the dance all the time. It’s really funny when it happens at swim class. When one boy starts, they all do it.

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  92. Melody says:

    Mum and I were camping. We both had to go so the pee dance ws at a run to the tent, where we had to get the key for the bathroon. Mum throws open the tent and yells to dad, “Give me the key! I have to pee!”… and we both burst into laughter… BAD MISTAKE! Now we have a pee dance and song ๐Ÿ˜‰

  93. I was reading your blog with my 3yo on my lap and she asked me to read this one aloud, when we were done she says “hey! I do that!” so obviously you have nailed it!

  94. Cry now, laugh later? That is usually how it works for me. Notice I’m writing about the past. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  95. I think you have given the best/most accurate response there could possible be!

  96. “The Pee Dance”- sounds very familiar. hahaha

  97. That’s not a problem….Just make sure to wash you hand after. LOL

  98. Linda says:

    HAHA! 5 yr old has that move down PAT, or PINCH, or … sumpthin… fantastic!

  99. Emily says:

    I teach and know the dance well. Sadly, with a class of up to 45 kinders and only 50 minutes I see it often. I also react to the sound of liquid dripping with “Who is peeing?!?!”

  100. Bronwyn says:

    hahaha! We call it the wee dance in our house. When I ask if she needs to go, I normally hear ‘No mum. I’m not doing my wee dance yet!’