Wee dancing – why kids would rather jiggle than piddle

In more than eight years of parenting, one thing has baffled me more than anything else – the wee dance.

This curious phenomenon seems to exist primarily among small boys, who seem to be in permanent denial about needing a wee.

Wee dancers perform their high-energy jig in the moments when they are most desperate for the toilet. Rather than making the logical decision to go to the toilet, they push that urge to the backs of their minds and go jumping and leaping.

The wee dance is a tell-tale sign that the child needs to get to the loo, and quickly. Parents need to recognise this as soon as possible to avoid potentially dire consequences.

Early warning signs include an inability to sit still and even greater distraction than usual. Given that small boys rarely sit still and can get distracted by anything from the TV to a breath of air or speck of dust, these can be difficult to detect. Extra grouchiness is another sign but again this is not unusual in small boys, who are prone to irrational outbursts at the best of times.

So why perform a wee dance?

I was a small boy once but even so I cannot get inside the mind of the wee dancer. I don’t know if I did the wee dance myself but it is entirely possible. What I can see, though, is that for children, going to the toilet is boring and everything else is far more exciting and crucial, no matter how full their bladders are.

The wee dance seems to be the final stage of wee denial – a way of expressing pent-up wee desperation and postponing a toilet trip for a few more seconds. Wee dancers even convince themselves they don’t need to go.

Often the only way to stop the wee dance is to take the child to the toilet yourself. Even under direct interrogation, wee dancers deny needing a wee until they cannot stand it any more.

A typical conversation with a wee dancer goes as follows:

Parent: Do you need the toilet?

Wee dancer (through clenched teeth): No.

Parent: Are you sure you don’t need a wee?

Wee dancer (frowning): Yes.

Parent: Are you totally sure?

Wee dancer: I really need a wee! 

There then follows a ludicrous sprint to the loo. The dance is not over, however. My five-year-old wee dancer will dance in front of the toilet, jigging so frenetically he is unable to lift the seat or pull his pants down.

The helpless parent just has to hope that the wee itself can be unleashed accurately into the bowl with minimal impact on clothing, the floor or the walls.

Wee dancers live life on the edge. Not for them, this boring ‘I need the toilet so I will go now’ logic. No, they will face great discomfort and peril to keep dancing. And why not? After all, it’s their hapless mums and dads who have to deal with the consequences.

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11 Comments on “Wee dancing – why kids would rather jiggle than piddle”

  1. rmwk100 says:

    Brilliant – and SO true! Love from Ruth xxxxx

  2. This is a conversation repeated 3-5 times a week with my 4yo son. I share your bemusement at it, but am excited by small signs he’s picking up on the merits of going earlier than later. :)

  3. aviets says:

    A children’s show on PBS here in the States (a derivative of the brilliant “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”) has a song about “If you have to go potty, stop and go right away.” Once again it shows Mr. Rogers’ beautiful understand of children. They’re just too busy and too interested in what they’re doing to disengage and take a pee. What if they miss something? What if things have changed when they return? It’s a huge deal, to them! :) -Amy at http://www.momgoeson.wordpress.com

  4. MyItchyBoy says:

    I spend about an hour a day saying ‘do you need the toilet?’ ‘Go to the toilet!’ etc. Nothing but the sound of his bladder actually bursting seems to persuade him he needs to go.
    Drives me potty!!

    My top tips are a) announcing I’m going to the loo myself and therefore making the loo impossible to use and b) running the tap in the same room as the wee dancer

  5. Marianne says:

    You post reminds me so much of the “toilet dance” my children used to do when younger, all the while denying the need to go to the loo. I wish I’d thought of saying I needed to go as I’m sure that would have worked.
    Can’t believe that we used a smily face chart, with rewards of chocklit before bedtime, to persuade my eldest to use the potty and not just save the wee for nappytime!
    I’m sure there are lessons to be learnt somewhere…….

  6. […] extreme, it’s perilous and it’s one of the most celebrated of children’s sports. Olympic wee dancing glory awaits the contender who can jig, wiggle and hop most frenziedly without actually wetting […]


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