With all the monsters, world destroying psychopaths, and clowns out there, the world can be a pretty frightening place. Encounters with these things can weaken not only the resolve of the strongest of men and women, but their bladders and sphincters as well.
This is when somebody's response to a scare is to piss or crap their pants, though this may not always be shown. The reasons for using this trope vary, including robbing a particular character of his or her dignity, as a joke on the extent of their cowardice, or occasionally in an attempt to show just how frightening something is. Most often this trope is used for comedic purposes, but there are a few serious examples as well. The character need not relieve themselves in their pants, but it happens in most of these examples.
The title comes from the old joke about the captain who, before any battle, asks his porter to Bring My Red Jacket, so his crew won't see him bleed and therefore lose morale. Eventually, upon happening upon a battle that he has no chance of winning, his first mate asks if he should get his red jacket. "Yes...." The captain says, and then, after a moment's hesitation, he adds, "...and bring my brown pants as well."
For a comedic metaphorical substitute see Bowel Breaking Bricks. Compare Potty Emergency, when a character has to go and is desperate to hold on, and Potty Failure, for when they fail.
This trope is Older Than Feudalism.
May or may not be related to Oh Crap. May result from a Brown Note.
Rurouni Kenshin - Kihei wets himself and passes out after being confronted by the real Battousai in the first volume.
Blue Gender - Yuji Kaido's reaction to his first sight of the Blue is to wet himself.
Read or Die - Presidents of the United States have a very low bladder capacity in this universe. They exist solely to wet themselves at whatever Big Bad is currently Badding it up.
Kinnikuman - The title character and Kinniku Mantaro have a tendency to do this. Most notably in Kinnikuman's case is when soiling himself in fright saves his life when his opponent, Ramenman, is so disgusted by the act that he releases Kinnikuman from his deadly Camel Clutch hold (which he had used in a previous fight to rip his opponent in half) to let him change his pants.
A female hostage wets herself when a thug aims his gun at her.
Also in the manga, Lily loses control of her bladder after Black Tattoo informs her that he's going to kill her with an acidic bomb.
A 10 year old Satoshi Batista did this in Michiko & Hatchin when a gang boss he'd tried to kill threatened to kill him if Satoshi didn't make him laugh before he finished his cigarette.
In the dub of Great Teacher Onizuka, the titular character finds out that a guy on a subway that he hit for harassing some woman is who will be interviewing him for a job and he says to himself that he might have just shit himself.
In Maris The Chojo, Maris is fighting a criminal gang in the opening scene. The gang's leader comes out in his armored suit, laughing nervously. That wasn't hydraulic fluid running down his leg. Maris is disgusted enough to throw him out into space.
Happens a few times in early episodes of Dragon Ball: Bulma ends the first episode peeing herself when Goku's saves her from falling to her death by pinning her shirt to a cliff and Oolong pees himself when he first runs into Ox King. Bulma wets her pants in the first movie, The Legend of Shenlong/Curse of the Blood Rubies after she and Goku are shot out of a plane from a lethal height.
Dragon Boy features a scene with the heroes coming face to face with a giant robot. As Tanton, the dragon boy, fights the robot, the Princess constantly distracts him because she peed her pants and worries about her reputation and need for a bath.
Nozomi from the manga version of Elfen Lied was abused by her father when she was a child (he wanted her to inherit the family business, she wanted to be a singer like her mom), which led to her getting a psychological trauma that makes her wet herself whenever she becomes too nervous. Being the kind of person that she is, this happened so often that she had to wear diapers.
It happens to a kid in Eureka Seven. The eyes of the titular character, which are the same eyes as the monsters that murdered his entire city, frightens a mute child so deeply that he pees his pants and begins crying.
Kuroda takes a break from blowing up stuff (and students) to try to rape a girl named Noriko with his gun. When Kuroda announces these intentions, the target is so terrified (and with damn good reason) that she wets herself and cries to the point where her face is a mess. Fortunately, Inugami interrupts him before he can do so.
Aoshika has a moment after glimpsing Inugami in his werewolf form.
In Dragon Destiny, Sousou is fighting an Emotionless Girl assassin named Koushaji. She spits a needle in his best friend Kakouton's eye; this sends Sousou into absolute rage, and he releases his dragon to fight her at full strength. After fighting for awhile, Koushaji produces a liquid from between her legs (even though some people claim she actually had an orgasm from fighting him, since there is another female fighter in the same series who did have quite the Orgasmic Combat)... and he follows this with crushing her head with his bare hands and then into a wall.
In the manga, all the major beatdowns end with at least one or both of the girls having wet herself/themselves, throw up and bleed everywhere, subverting Beauty Is Never Tarnishedhard
In Dai Mahou Touge, after Punie defeats her Enfant TerribleCreepy Twins sisters she prepares to punish the little usurpers and, knowing their sister, the young girls lose control of their bladders. However, she never does anything worse to them then spanking or some Tickle Torture.
In one episode of Desert Punk, Punk is being fired upon by some bandits, and first comments that he crapped himself, and shortly afterward makes a comment about not needing a colonic.
When being chased down by Fire Dragon Kong, Punk claims the crew weren't trying to kill them (they weren't, as they didn't want to damage a MacGuffin) and one of the Machine Gun brothers tells him that his pants disagree.
In episode 184 of Sailor Moon, the girls are freaked out after hearing a noise in the hallway in Usagi's house and Mako scares them by telling them about the horrible gory monster that was there. Seiya then tells them that he'll attack it on the count of three, but they all jump and trip on each other... only to find out that the figure was just Chibi-Chibi.
The kid Guts uses as bait for child-eating insect-monsters rather visibly peed himself.
Nina also does this when she's about to be interrogated by Mozgus's disciples and sees how all the others are being tortured.
The Professor from Nichijou suffered a late-night Potty Emergency one stormy night and would've made it if not for a particularly fierce bolt of lightning.
While One Piece never explicitly uses this trope, Usopp, the character most likely to do this among the main cast, actually includes a pair of brown pants in his standard outfit. After the Time Skip, his regular garb now has tan pants instead, possibly to symbolize how he's largely grown out of it.
Mahiru wets herself in terror during a flashback in Kamisama Dolls. When you're a 7 year old girl staring down a demonic doll with Mind Rape as it's main weapon...
In Claymore, Riful wraps Audrey in her tentacles and announces that she will start torturing her. Audrey wets herself in fear all over Riful.
Battle Angel Alita: Alita's team has finally (finally!) won the Tournament Arc but Big Bad Mbadi wants to incinerate them with his Kill Sat. What Mbadi doesn't know is that the rebellion-suppressing software implanted in his people has been hacked, so he's shocked that his prime minister doesn't want to do it. The man wets his pants in front of his superior but sticks with his feelings and is rewarded with a prompt neck snapping. Fortunately the hacker also hacked the cameras...
Happens to Satomi in Naru Taru, and with good reason - her Shadow Dragon, which she has a Psychic Link with, has just been cut down by a rotating blade. And not only she pees, but she also vomits and passes out.
Blue Exorcist: Renzou Shima has a severe case of entomophobia (fear of bugs). Upon being faced with a literal moat full of caterpillars, well...
Shima: That's it! No more! Heheheheh... I've pissed my pants.
Rin: Don't you feel better now that you've gone?
Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge: In chapter 6/Episode 3, Iwai urinates herself in fear after an author of a sledgehammer killing good breaks in her mansion and tries to kill her.
In episode ten of Squid Girl, Squid Girl sneaks into Takeru's room at night to leave a good luck charm hanging over his bed. Unfortunately, due to her... unusual art skills, when he wakes up and spots it, this scares him enough to wet his pants.
In Alan Moore's 80s run on Captain Britain Weekly, Captain UK, an alternate-reality version of Captain Britain, wets herself at the sight of the Fury, the cyborg monster responsible for killing all the superheroes of her home reality, after it has wreaked havoc on Captain Britain and his compatriots.
In Empowered, a fat, ugly geek steals Emp's suit and puts it on, thinking it will grant him superpowers. He ends up grievously injured, wetting himself in the process. Also, Major Havok soiled himself when fighting The Caged Demonwolf.
In Volume 3 of Scott Pilgrim, when Scott and Todd are about to fight at Honest Ed's, and Wallace is giving Scott some advice on how to beat Todd. Scott's response: "If I peed my pants, would you guys pretend I got wet from the rain?"
In the movie, Scott says that line after being thrown into the air by Todd. Ramona then says, "It's not raining."
New 52: In Superman #6, Supergirl saves an obnoxious reporter from falling out of the sky. When she brings him to the ground, Jimmy Olsen and the other reporters complain and order in a change of pants for him.
In Squadron Supreme, when the Institute of Evil tortures the Golden Archer, Foxfire says, "Good thing your pants are already yellow, huh, Archer?"
Bill Cosby said it best when describing the course of events in an auto accident:
And mothers are always more interested in the condition of your underwear than your body if you're ever in an accident. And they tell you that. "I hope for my sake that if you're ever in an accident, you have on clean underwear!" Well, I thought that was what an accident was! Look, you're driving a truck. Here comes another truck, gonna hit you. Now, whether you hit the truck or not, you're going to have soiled underwear! Because first you say it, then you do it!
From the sci-fi audiobook Alien Adventure by John Freda.
The late Graham Chapman discussed this trope during a lecture series later recorded as Looks Like a Brown Trouser Job, regarding adventures with the Dangerous Sports Club.
Hugh Laurie has joked that while he was filming a movie in which there was a lion, the lion's handler told him that lions are fastidious and have very sensitive noses, and if he was ever faced with an angry lion, he should reach around behind himself, grab a handful of feces, and throw it at the lion's face so that the smell would drive the lion away. He asked what to do if there was no feces there, and was told "if you're facing an angry lion, don't worry, it'll be there."
George Carlin had a bit about airplanes in which he said that the pilot telling you that in the event of a water landing your seat cushion could be used as a flotation device was kind of stupid, since if the plane crashes into the ocean you're probably not going to want to hold on to something you were sitting on.
In the party ending of Shrek 2, Shrek tries to crowd surf. Everyone gets out of his way, except a puppy, which pees itself before he lands on it.
There is a running gag to this effect in How to Train Your Dragon. When he assumes he's going on a expedition to find the dragons' nest, Gobber remarks that he'll pack extra undies. Later, while preparing to fight at the dragons' nest, he remarks that it's a "good thing I brought my undies."
Mars Needs Moms: "When you're going to shoot a laser at someone, you should bring them a change of underwear!"
Film - Live-Action
In Ace Ventura Pet Detective, Ace knocks on a door and says, "Hi, I'm looking for Ray Finkle." Ray's father aims a shotgun at his head, and Ace follows up with, "and a clean pair of shorts."
Partially comedic example in Soldier. The commanding officer who has been setup as an Acceptable Target the entire movie is dragged down to face the soldier he had ordered dumped out of the ship like garbage at the start of the movie. As he begs for his life, a puddle forms at his feet.
In the movie Inner Space, Tuck, a former pilot, gets into an argument with another pilot after drunkenly telling the story of landing a crippled plane in a storm.
Rusty: And give that crippled Tomcat story a rest, 'cause we've all heard it.
Tuck: Gosh, Rusty... you're right, but at least when my moment of truth came I didn't take a dump down the leg of my flight suit.
Sir Robin in Monty Python and the Holy Grail after seeing the rabbit for the first time, and he does it again after seeing what the rabbit is capable of. He's also described in his introduction as "Sir Robin Who Personally Wet Himself at the Battle of Baden Hill".
In The Grudge 2, Vanessa is alone in the locker room and sees Kayako, and she reacts by peeing on her legs. Serves her right, she's the one who brought Allison to the house and restarted the whole curse...
A very dramatic example here: In The Battle Of Shaker Heights, Kelly and his friends plot to take revenge on the bully Lance by dragging him out of his house at gunpoint and shouting at him in German accents. Lance bawls as he urinates out of fear.
A subtle example occurs in Teen Wolf, when Harold Howard tells his son's principal to step off, a nice little speech punctuated at the end by a low, bestial growl (the principal knows about the family legacy of lycanthropy). After a beat, both men glance down, and Harold, back to friendly, remarks, "I knew I could count on you." It is strongly implied that the principal has wet himself. This is made even funnier by the fact that Harold is at least a foot shorter than the principal.
In the movie White Squall, a character who is afraid of heights is forced to climb up into the ship's rigging. He pees his pants.
Non-comedic example: In Friday the 13th Part 2, Ginny is hiding from Jason Voorhees beneath a bed. A rat runs by her face, and Jason learns of her whereabouts when a rivulet emerges from beneath the bed.
However, Word of God says otherwise, claiming it was the rat making the mess.
In Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco, the animal trio are taken with their human masters to the airport for their trip to Canada. However, the animals break out. They try to stop their masters from taking off in the plane by sitting on the runway to get their attention. The airplane does not stop and just barely takes off over their heads. A puddle emerges from underneath Chance.
In Stuart Little 2, Stuart and Snowbell head out to a seedier part of town to find the whereabouts of the villainous Falcon, Stuart as intrepid as usual, and Snowbell in the need of a litter box. They meet up with Monte, who explains to the two how sinister the Falcon is. Snowbell is left terrified.
Stuart: Snowbell, are you all right?
Snowbell: Yeah. In fact, good news. I no longer need a litter box.
Monte: Mop up on aisle three!
And in an early trailer to Stuart Little 2, Snowbell gives this little hum-ding after falling down the side of a skyscraper:
Snowbell: This is now officially a litter box!
Used in Ransom when the protagonist's young son, now freed, recognizes the voice of his kidnapper. The protagonist sees the puddle he's making and gets clued in, then makes a valiant try at bluffing his way through his interaction with the villain — bluff checks are notoriously spotty when it comes to scenes like these.
In The Long Kiss Goodnight, a teenaged boy is smoking a cigarette when he is surprised by Charlie the Spy coming up behind him with a big sniper rifle. He pees his pants.
It was less a matter of him being surprised to see her with that big gun, and more a matter of her warning him that she'd use it on him if he told anyone she'd been there.
"You scared the crap out of me! See? There it is."
In probably the most inane example, 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain has one of Rocky's "friends" peeing himself because a goofy-looking doofus gives a barely-scary roar into his face.
A slasher piece titled Pieces has a scene with a college student cornered by a chainsaw-wielding killer. She pees her pants, which was added to the script because the actress really wet herself during a rehearsal take from being so close to a real chainsaw.
The Exorcist where Regan wets herself while scaring everyone, most probably including herself.
In the movie Paul, Clive screams and passes out when he and Graeme first meet the titular alien. Then, as Graeme and Paul are about to pick Clive up, Paul tells Graeme that Clive peed his pants.
Defied in Ninth Company. A bunch of young recruits are in boot camp in Afghanistan, and, as a drill, they have to lie in a shallow trench, let a tank roll over them and then throw a dummy Molotov's cocktail at it. One of them completes the assignement, but then it turns out that he'd wet himself from fear, much to the amusement of his comrades. However, Drill Sergeant Nasty immediately jumps all over them, explaining that nobody cares if you weep or call for your mommy or, yes, even wet yourself, just as long as you get the job done.
Happens to Will Graham's son in Red Dragon which gave him an idea on how to defeat Francis Dolarhyde.
Medieval-era Vincent's "personal problem" in Time Bandits, which reactivates as he's tied to a tree with his girlfriend Pansy.
Vincent: Oh no. The problem. The problem, Pansy! It's started again!
Pansy: Oh! Oh, don't worry, darling!
Vincent: Ohhh... ohhh...
Pansy: I say!
Vincent: I must have fruit!
In Scott Pilgrim vs. The World a major record producer named G-Man compliments Sex Bob-Omb on their set and the lead guitarist wets himself. The trope is subverted since it's not due to fear but overwhelming joy.
The surreal time-travel/reincarnation film Racing Daylight has the present-day hero ask if you've ever been so terrified that you think "the next fart's gonna be liquid". He admits that's how he feels as he opens the Honey Cabinet of Doom.
The documentary Grizzly Man features real footage of two bears fighting, one of which, makes a pretty big mess during the scuffle and even slips in it.
In Dredd a perp attempts to resist a psychic interrogation, resulting in a Battle in the Center of the Mind. He loses spectacularly; upon cutting back to reality, a puddle forms beneath him.
Starflight One (1982). A character has to go outside the hypersonic aircraft which is adrift in space and do some necessary repairs. He says he'll need a wire stripper, some nuts, "and a dry pair of pants when I get back."
In Evil Dead (2013), Olivia is in the bathroom and suddenly starts to become possessed by a demon, proceeding to vacate her bladder onto the floor.
This happens - with an explicit close-up - to David Bowie's girlfriend in The Man Who Fell To Earth when she sees his reptilian eyes and realises he's an alien.
An old married couple no sooner hit the pillows when the old man passes gas and says, 'Seven Points.' His wife rolls over and says, 'What in the world was that?' The old man replied, 'It's fart football.' A few minutes later his wife lets one go and says 'Touchdown, tie score.' After about five minutes the old man lets another one go and says, 'aha. I'm ahead 14 to 7.' Not to be outdone the wife rips out another one and says, 'Touchdown, tie score.' Five seconds go by and she lets out a little squeaker and says, 'Field goal, I lead 17 to 14.' Now the pressure is on the old man. He refuses to get beaten by a woman, so he strains real hard. Since defeat is totally unacceptable, he gives it everything he's got, and accidentally shits in the bed. The wife says, 'What the hell was that?' The old man says, 'Half time, switch sides.
An airline pilot starts making a routine announcement over the PA system, then suddenly screams at the top of his lungs. A moment later, he says, "Sorry about that, ladies and gentlemen. No cause for alarm, I just knocked a hot cup of coffee onto my lap. You should see the front of my pants!" Hearing this, a passenger says, "That's nothing, you should see the back of mine!"
Lord Nelson is getting ready for the Battle of Trafalgar. The faithful Hardy is laying out his uniform.
Lay out my red frock-coat, Hardy, so if I'm hit, the sailors will not see me bleed and thus get disheartened.
Very good, sir. Very wise. Apparently there are fourteen French warships heading straight for us.
Nelson pauses for a moment.
In that case... lay out my brown trousers.
Warhammer 40,000 - Commissar Ciaphas Cain, Hero of the Imperium, remarks on several occasions that he may seem brave at this moment, but he really, really needs to change his pants.
In Feet of Clay, when Colon is hanging off the edge of a roof.
Unseen Academicals also mentions that Rincewind costs the Unseen University money due to an above-average amount of soiled pants. Archchancellor Ridcully, however, feels it's worth the price since Rincewind's status as a CosmicButt Monkey keeps it from having to be anyone else.
Thief of Time has a trainee History Monk who doesn't realize he just challenged Lu-Tzeto a duel. Once he does, he's prepared to give up his belt (symbolizing his current martial-art rank) to get out of the fight.
Lu-Tze: No, no, we don't need that. ... And we would not want his trousers falling down at a time like this, would we? Especially at a time like this.
This is so common in Discworld that it nearly hits Running Gag status. Nearly every instance of extreme fright will be followed by a mention of dampness or the need to do laundry.
In the novel Foundation's Fear, when Hari Seldon and his wife Dors are on the run, they need to learn how to pilot a tiny spaceship through a tiny wormhole. Since this is so risky, Hari predictably does this on his first training run.
There was mention of "panic shit" in Raptor Red, when an animal was attacked.
There is a scene from All Quiet on the Western Front where a new soldier soils himself when bombs go off nearby. The other soldiers merely tell him it happens and to just throw his underpants away and move on.
An American officer in WWII does this in Cryptonomicon, where his incontinence is contrasted to General MacArthur's coolness.
This happens to the eponymous character in the novel Crabbe when he's attacked by a bear.
The Bloody Road to Death by Sven Hassel. A Dirty Coward of a Nazi officer is caught by shelling on his way back to headquarters and soils himself, quickly getting rid of the evidence. Porta chooses that moment to come along and naturally draws attention to the event as loudly as possible.
"Are you injured, sir, seeing as you just had to dispose of your pants, sir?! A shot in the arse, sir, is a very dangerous thing, sir! Shall I call an orderly to dress it, sir?!"
Flashman farts his way down the Valley of Death during the Charge of the Light Brigade, as he hasn't eaten for days and so has no solid matter to 'release'.
There's a serious example in the Culture novel Matter where Prince Ferbin, a good-hearted Upper-Class Twit, defecates in his pants after seeing the general next to him in battle being cut in half by enemy rounds.
From the Doctor WhoEighth Doctor Adventures novel The Ancestor Cell, after the humanoid TARDIS seriously malfunctions, crashlands in a horrible spooky place, and spits out everything inside her, including the Doctor and his companion Fitz, who admits to farting with terror:
The Doctor: "[...]There's a stench of decay here."
"Sorry." Fitz smiled and wafted with his hands. "That would be me. Well, I was very frightened."
Fitz also once either pissed himself or came very close when trying to rescue the Doctor from the living personification of Future Me Scares Me, or possibly just the Doctor's own paradoxical and terrifying future self, in what he describes as a "surrealist hell". True to this trope, he was quite happy about the fact he was too soaked for anyone to notice. Under the circumstances, it just makes him all the more sympathetic and admirable.
Temeraire - Temeraire is annoyed by soldiers' tendency to do this whenever he performs any sort of minor aerial maneuver while he carries them. He thinks that he'll have to bathe for a week before feeling clean again.
In the first "Gord the Rogue" novel (a D&DWorld of Greyhawk tie-in), Gord pees himself during a beginning of the book encounter with a street gang. After leveling up big time, Gord heads back to that neighborhood at the end of the book specifically to make the gang leader both piss and crap his pants.
In Norman Mailer's World War II novel, The Naked and the Dead a young soldier named Hennessey soils himself during an attack. He wants to clean up, so he climbs out of his foxhole, and soon killed by an artillery shell.
In Ash A Secret History, several characters piss or soil themselves on the field of battle or in other horrifying situations.
Lampshaded and averted in The Hunt for Red October, when Jack Ryan - in a nervous spot - congratulates himself for having gone to the toilet prior to the scary bits.
In Point Of Impact by Stephen Hunter, the character Jack Payne's most embarrassing memory was soiling himself in front of his fellow soldiers when he was charged by a Viet Cong soldier.
In the novelisation of the 1989 Batman movie, when Batman attacks a criminal at the beginning, it's said that "all he could do was piss in his pants."
Discussed in Dragonseye, between B'nurrin and K'vin about the prospect of facing the first Threadfall in two hundred years (they're at the end of the first Interval, about to face the Second Pass). K'vin's Weyrwoman, Zulaya, surprises him by admitting she's concerned about needing to change pants during Fall herself.
In Lene Kaaberbol's Dina at the Dragon Fortress Dina, a 13 years old girl, is caught between two dragons:
"It would be wonderful if I could say that I looked at the dragon calmly and fearlessly. But I didn't. Instead, I wet myself."
In the Animorphs book where Tobias is captured and tortured by the Yeerks, the author is kind enough to draw the reader's attention to the exact point in time where the pain becomes intense enough to invoke this trope. You know, for kids!
Theatrica features someone urinating themselves just before standing trial. The trial procedure is severe, and the punishment system rather brutal.
Family Feud: One of the questions early in the 2013-2014 season asked a to name color of underwear a man buys "because it hides dirts and stains." Brown actually was the No. 2 answer, with black being the top response; FWIW, gray and blue were Nos. 3 and 4, respectively.
Merton Dingle from Big Wolf on Campus has wet himself when facing various forces of evil. At one point, he even recites a haiku in which he mentions that he soiled himself and feels shame for doing so.
His exact words when a dozen or more adult tigers were circling around him at a Buddhist monastery: "I'm trying to look cool, but I'm this close to having to change my underpants."
In the BBC drama Threads, the city of Sheffield comes under nuclear attack. One particularly memorable shot is simply a woman's leg, wearing heeled shoes and trousers. A stream of yellow liquid is coming out of the trouser leg. It's insanely horrible.
In the second episode, "Future Echoes", Holly makes a remark about the inherent difficulty in lightspeed travel.
Holly: "We're traveling faster than the speed of light. That means, by the time we see something, we've already passed through it. Even with an IQ of 6000, it's still brown-trousers time".
Also, when Kryten's would-be replacement announces that Rimmer (though a hologram) is a viable target, Rimmer comments "Well, it's been a few years since I did that."
Kryten: We must take action. Be bold, positive, decisive. Suggest we move from blue alert to red alert, sir.
Cat: Forget red! Let's go all the way up to brown alert!
Kryten: But there's no such thing as brown alert, sir.
Cat: You won't be saying that in a minute. And don't say I didn't alert you!
In "Demons and Angels", Kryten meets up with Cat and Rimmer who are chasing down their Evil Twins called Lows (a physical manifestation of their inner demons, It Makes Sense in Context) and then this conversation happens:
In the pilot episode, Tommy pees himself when they find out Dad's not dead, and he's standing behind them. Almost unnoticeable, unless you're looking for it. Mentioned in the episode's DVD commentary.
In the courtroom episode, it's revealed Tommy wet himself when Titus' mother shot her husband. Later, she takes the judge hostage, but he gets free when Ken goes in to talk to her. Upon seeing evidence of how the judge handled the situation, Tommy gloats, "Oh, look! The Judge wet himself!"
In The Young Ones episode "Flood" Mike happens to mention that there's a lion tamer in his bedroom. Neil, not knowing this, opens the door to Mike's room. When he sees the lion there's a loud squelch.
It happens to him again in the second series episode "Time". A light bulb in the ceiling decided to leave to get away from Neil's BO (Vyvyan was holding him over his head to use as a weapon while fighting with Rick), and Mike, Vyvyan, and Rick are preparing to jump off a ladder and onto one end of a seesaw to propel Neil toward the ceiling to put in a new light bulb. As they count down to the jump, there is a loud squelch. Mike tells Neil not to worry, as that shouldn't affect his overall weight in their calculations.
In the final episode of Bottom, Richie fills his pants twice, once for each time the police call.
On NCIS, Gibbs' team have made bets on whether or not (or in which order) the suspects being questioned will wet or soil themselves.
In one episode of Boston Legal, Alan Shore, who has had an intense fear of clowns since childhood, gets stuck in a case involving a professional clown, who to his horror shows up in the courtroom in uniform. He refuses to cross-examine him and spends the whole case awkwardly trying to avoid looking at him. As he later confesses to Denny Crane, he sincerely fears he might wet himself the whole time, though he does not actually do so.
In True Blood, an unfortunate police officer wets himself after a close call with Bill.
This happens to one of a group of African kids in 24: Redemption when a group of soldiers ambush a football game to conscript the children playing into joining the General Juma's coup d'etat.
In an episode of Son Of The Beach, main character Notch Johnson tells of his father (Corbin Bernsen), who died in the surf. Later, Notch dons his father's trunks, which have a conspicuous brown stain down the back. Seeing this, Kimberlee says, "Was your father scared when he died?"
In The Sopranos Christopher "does a number two in his pants" as girlfriend Adriana puts it, when he is mock executed by a pair of Russian gangsters.
Later on, Jackie Jr. pees himself in a car seat when Christopher and another mobster rob a benefit concert.
And then there was a "businessman" who wet his pants as he was dragged into a dark room so a bunch of mobsters could bash him up.
In Coupling, one episode involves Jeff's rather kinky interactions with his girlfriend, who ends up Chained to a Bed after he accidentally swallows the handcuff key. Earlier in the episode, he references buying laxatives in order to retrieve the key, but after he gets threatened by the girlfriend's psycho ex-boyfriend, he remarks that that will no longer be a problem.
Referred to in the M*A*S*H episode "The Army-Navy Game":
Frank Burns: There's an unexploded shell out there.
Hawkeye: We know, Frank, we know.
Frank Burns: We've got to evacuate immediately!
Hawkeye: I think I did.
Woolsey is implied to have pissed himself in the Stargate SG-1 episode "The Shroud" after he's pinned to the wall by an annoyed Daniel, who is currently a Prior of the Ori. After being beamed down to the SGC, he starts to look down at himself before being distracted by Jack O'Neill being beamed away. According to Michael Shanks, they were going to include a shot of the actual act, but it was cut for being unnecessary and crude.
Robert Lee claimed this was necessary after a MythBusters small-scale test literally blew up in Adam's face.
Rob: Fresh underwear for Mr Savage.
Another one, in "Inverted Underwater Car":
Adam: It was absolutely the scariest thing I have ever done on this show. 10 on the brown pants index.
The last episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: as the cast march into Sunnydale High for the final battle, Xander tells the Potentials where the bathrooms are. If they don't have to go, he suggests they picture what they're about to face - an army of Ubervamps under the Hellmouth. "Better to go now."
Angel. In "You're Welcome" Lorne finds out that the arterial blood of a demon is required for a spell, and asks if urine could work instead after Gunn produces a knife.
The Thick of It - Malcolm Tucker invokes this at one point when summoning Nicola to his office.
Might be an idea to wear brown trousers and a shirt the colour of blood.
In The Tudors, Catherine Howard wets herself at the sight of Lady Rochford's death.
On How I Met Your Mother, after facing down Robin's frightening father, Barney claims that the rabbit he's holding peed all over his pants.
In the The Blue And The Gray TV miniseries, Malachi wets himself while going into his first battle of the The American Civil War. He whispers the fact to his brother and says that everyone is going to notice. His brother then mentions that everyone had just crossed a deep creek.
Frank: Long enough to know you could use some new underwear.
Ray: Yeah, well I could use some now!
30 Rock - Liz outs a randy, ditzy female writer as a formerly intellectual standup comic, who angrily explains she'd changed her identity to escape an abusive husband. Lutz gallantly vows to protect her, but a second later, when an entering UPS man is mistaken for her husband, he promptly surrenders her up and wets himself.
In the 2 Broke Girls episode, "And the Hold-Up", Caroline is so scared during the title incident that she pees all over the floor, ruining Oleg's chance to play the hero. Later, Han, who did play the hero by pulling a gun no one had suspected he had on the robber, wets himself when confronted by an usher at a movie theater and being unable to find his ticket.
In an episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Catherine Weaver's daughter Savannah wets herself when her mother (who was really not her mother, but a T-1000 who took her form) told her somewhat sternly to sit down beside her during a photo shoot promoting her company, Zeira Corp. The child supposedly knew something was "off" about "her mother".
Top Gear: When things pass from "not gone well" to "dangerously wrong", expect Clarkson to claim "Some poo's come out!" For example, after nearly crashing his sports car-cum-train into an actual train facing the opposite way on the same track. Hammond will also claim to have "had a wee" from time to time.
In a Mr. Show sketch during a Hilarious Outtakes montage (for a news program), a man is holding an animal. You expect the blooper to be that the animal wet itself, but it turns out to be the man himself.
A Halloween episode of Night Court has Judge Stone spook a group of kids. The next shot has one of the kids wearing a pair of Bull's pants (with the pants going up to his neck).
Well the crowd cleared away, and I began to pray, as the water fell on the floor; I'm telling you son, it ain't no fun, staring straight down a forty-four.
In the video clip of Rammstein's "Ich Will", Paul advances on a security guard while dragging a terrified woman behind him. The shot changes and suddenly the woman is lying motionless on the floor behind him while Paul keeps coming undeterred — and the guard pees his pants.
Mitch Benn's song "Credit Crunch" (which describes the global financial crisis In The Style Of a cereal advertisement) includes the spoken line "And remember, kids, Credit Crunch is so worrying it even turns your trousers brown!"
The Lonely Island's "Trouble on Dookie Island" is about two thieves shitting their pants repeatedly (and rapidly) while getting away from cops. Eventually they produce so much shit that their legs get stuck in a mountain of it, causing them to be killed graphically in the shootout.
One account is given in Norse Mythology, cited in the Prose Edda (Brodeur's Translation). The story concerns a giant, Hrungnir, about to duel with Thor:
"...he was sore afraid, and it is said that he wet himself when he saw Thor."
Possibly because of the Vince incident mentioned above, anytime a non-wrestling persona is in the ring with a wrestler, under the implication he's going to get his ass kicked, the ring announcers always say something to the extent of "Good thing he's wearing dark pants."
In the 2011 revival of WWE Tough Enough, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin admitted that very early in his career, he shat himself in the middle of a match, but simply continued.
In A Very Potter Sequel, right before they travel back in time, says something along the lines of, "I hope you're all wearing your diapers." After the time travel, Ron asked, "Why did I just shit my pants?"
Happens regularly in Aristophanes' plays, an example from The Frogs (Dionysos' slave Xanthias has just described to him a horrible monster that may or may not have existed) :
Dionysos: How I went pale at this sight!
Xanthias: (points at Dionysos' robe) And this, out of fright, went brown for you.
In Battlefield: Vietnam, the player character would whimper and then proceed to defecate if you let yourself fall without using a parachute for a long enough time.
The first Metal Gear Solid has Otacon peeing his pants when confronted with an insane cyborg ninja. This gets mentioned in the Tanker chapter of Metal Gear Solid 2, where if you hide in a locker, Otacon will note that this is like when he and Snake first met, only reversed. Snake will than add, "Not unless I wet my pants."
Happens to Otacon's sister as well in Metal Gear Solid 2. One of the elderly hostages in the Plant mission will also wet herself upon you mistaking her for Jennifer.
In Metal Gear Solid 3 Sokolov wets himself when Ocelot decides to play Russian Roulette with him while juggling three pistols. Snake also does this while being tortured by Colonel Volgin, but only because the electrical surges caused him to lose bladder control.
This happens to Johnny Sasaki in every game he's been in. And if he doesn't crap his pants in a scene, he comes very close. Best example: Metal Gear Solid 4, he shits his britches in the midst of a fight with Liquid's Haven Troopers, much to the disgust of everyone else.
"Be still, Mouse. You can change your pants in a moment." Comes after two Oh Crap lines in quick succession, no less.
Admiral Han'Gerrel views one of his fellow admirals as such a coward that Han'Gerrel calls him "suit-wetter". They are quarians, and always clad in environmental suits.
The Citadel DLC of Mass Effect 3 has this occur if one has Liara and Tali in their party while infiltrating the hijacked Normandy. In response to Liara asking "Are you ready?", Tali remarks that she has to use the bathroom... and casually does so right then and there. It can be seen here.
Played for Laughs in the ending to De Blob 2 when the hero defecates red paint onto the Hypno Ray dish at sight of the black hole.
In the opening scene of Breath Of Fire 3, one of the miner claims to have wet himself in fright of the main character Ryu (in dragon form) running wild through the mine, spreading panic to all the workers.
In Final Fantasy VIII, after the opening siege mission, one member of SeeD claims he wet himself on the battlefield.
In Eternal Sonata, the party is about to cross the unstable-looking Cabasa Bridge. Beat thinks he's going to wet himself. After they cross, Allegretto asks if he did, and Beat denies it nervously.
The Dragoon Sidequest in Ogre Battle 64 has the player searching for a legendary dragon name the Grozz Nuy. In the process of finding it, the player must track down a series of equipment pieces, all of them take some investigation all over the game's world. Searching for the Dragoon's sword has the player locating a barkeep- a man who claims he saw the dragon, peed his pants, then passed out in the snow.
In Planescape: Torment, a very stuck-up lecturer in the Sensorium is giving a rather uninformed and overall bad talk on the Blood War. One of the main character's possible responses to this is to literally scare the crap out of him.
Space Quest 1 (after crash landing an escape pod): That is the seat. It may be slightly moist after that landing.
In the Death Knight starting area in World of Warcraft, one of the enemies you face, the Scarlet Peasant, will sometimes on being attacked say "ungh... I... I think I pooped..."
After the Cat Scare — well, Mannequin Scare really — in the upstairs bathroom from Return to Ravenhearst, you can click on the (disgusting) toilet, triggering a captioned comment from your character that suggests you've just invoked this trope:
"No thanks, I just went."
In Medal of Honor: Allied Assault at the end of the Norway campaign, "Scuttling the U-529", one of the escort ally soldiers quote, "I think I wet myself.
In Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault, during the course of the "Flyboys" mission, you teammate Frank Minoso will mention he's "low on ammo, and needs to change his shorts".
Referenced in the Dragon Age games a number of times:
Before the battle of Ostagar, Alistair and the Player Character are sent to go ready a signal fire. If you ask Duncan what you should do if the archdemon appears on the battlefield, Alistair quips "We soil our drawers, that's what."
If you run into a dragon, Zevran may say "Uh, I may have just browned my pants."
Hazama cops to nearly peeing himself when Makoto sends his local plans down in flames during Slight Hope.
In Valkenhayn's Joke Ending, after Valkenhayn tells a legend of a creature that makes even Hakuman pee himself (ignoring the Fridge Logic of him being Animated Armor). Ragna comments "You're gonna make me pee." Taokaka then admits that she just did.
When Captain Qwark first encountered the ameboids he immediately executed emergency response plan "number 2".
Qwark: Hey! Wait just a minute.
The cat toy in Little Inferno does this when it's set on fire. Producing a pile larger than the cat is.
One of the things a classmate will say to you in Lollipop Chainsaw upon being rescued is, "Don't worry about the smell. I just shit myself."
In indie game Investigate This: Scarecrow, female private investigator Hannah remarks that she needs a "change of undies" after crashing into the titular Scarecrow.
Face a foe in Hyperdimension Neptunia who's a significant number of levels above you and Nep-Nep might start the fight by requesting a change of underwear.
In Sully and Stahl'sS support, Stahl admits that he's so nervous at the prospect of asking Sully to marry him that he almost feels like soiling his pants.
In Questionable Contentit's mentioned (though not shown) to have happened to Marten, though as he puts it, "You try being used as a human shield by a scimitar-wielding monk and see how well your bladder holds up!"
Eastwood wets himself when the gang is stuck in the Collapsing Lair of his Arch-Nemesis Morth. It mostly seems to have been used to lighten the mood of what would otherwise be a genuinely serious, sombre scene.
Morth himself, after he finally became a daemon prince, only to be cornered by the greater daemon of War whom he royally cheesed off not an hour ago:
Morth: Hm... I think I'm learning a lesson about hubris. And about the waste functions of my new anatomy.
Also, Strong Bad's phrase "not for the faint of heart or the faint of butt" probably references this.
Strong Sad will say "Where are you going? You can't take on Trogdor without calling product support first! You'll void your warranty! And maybe your bladder!" if you try to go outside with out talking to him first in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People Episode 5.
Happens to two out of three bad guys in "Ayla and the Great Shoulder Angel Conspiracy" in the Whateley Universe.
Mike Nelson: Well that was kind of scar-... Kevin what happened?
Kevin Murphy: I spilled water in my lap.
Mike: But you weren't drinking any-
Kevin: I spilled my water!
The Nostalgia Critic does it during the "Top 11 Nostalgic Mind Fucks" countdown, then again in the "Top 11 Nostalgia Critic Fuck-Ups" countdown, when the Critic wets himself when the Banshee from Darby O'Gill and the Little People is brought up.
The Literal Video version of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" features the line "Get out of my way, I've gotta pee!" After one of the possessed kids leaps at her, she sings "Never mind, I just went on the floor! Now I need to find a mop!"
Lupis from the rebooted [Darwin's Soldiers] Furtopia RP wets himself out of fear several times. Luckily, he spends a fair portion of the RP in diapers. Justified by the fact that he is four years old and not fully toilet trained.
Garlic Jr. is definitely in need of brown pants in the Dragon Ball Abridged version of the first movie, Dead Zone, after summoning the dragon and getting ranted at before his wish is granted.
Krillin when he and Gohan first learn about Freeza
Krillin: YES GOHAN! I KNOW! On the bright side I no longer have to use the bathroom! ...I'm gonna go get changed
The very first thing that Jimmy Brennan of Survival of the Fittest v4 does once he wakes up on the island is... wet himself. Then he starts crying and running around screaming throughout the forest, eventually shouting out that "Craig Hoyle will rape you and wear your skin as a coat!"
Tabi Gweneth similarly wets herself (and passes out) soon after waking up on the island...notably, she still doesn't realize that she is in fact on Survival of the Fittest. Possibly a natural reaction to being threatened with an umbrella, but it still makes you wonder about her every-day life.
Zero Punctuation - Yahtzee refers to the game Amnesia: The Dark Descent as being "almost unmatched as a constipation aid." He also praises Condemned as providing the sort of immersion that launched an unexpected cat right back off his lap with a reflexive jet of pee, where its sequel filled his pants "with unrelenting grit and terrified wee."
Nash, Film Brain and Linkara have this to say in the failed TV Pilot for Wonder Woman is about to hurt someone: PANTS TO BE DARKENED!note After a message telling the VFX team to darken Wonder Woman's pants which, this being an unfinished pilot actually appears on screen Also happens when JesuOtaku catches the boys doing a review while she waited four hours to meet Gary Larson.
In Red vs. Blue: Revelation episode 19, after the Reds and Blues crash-land a Pelican in Avalanche:
In the previous season, Epsilon!Church is in a Monitor body, and he tries to figure out how to use his laser face. Tucker and Caboose give him suggestions about emotions causing the laser to activate, leading to the use of a variation of this trope.
Tucker: Maybe mad makes a red laser, and depressed makes a blue laser.
Caboose: Well, I hope we don't find out what makes a brown laser...
In "Last Words", Doc sits in an out-of-control jeep. When it finally stops, he tells the others that the seat will need a thorough cleaning.
Happy Tree Friends: A group of characters are riding on a school bus around a perilous cliff. Petunia the skunk has been drinking a lot of cherry juice and needs to visit the washroom. Chaos ensues, and soon the bus is headed for the edge of a cliff. Petunia puddles the floor (the puddle is strangely coming out of her feet rather than her crotch), then later dies.
In the classic 1999 flash movie "Tales for the L33t: Hamlet", Marcellus' response to seeing the ghost is to "siht" his pants. This becomes a running gag throughout the film.
During a mini-episode collection where the Simpsons sleep through church and wake up to find that the Armageddon has begun:
Marge: Are you kids wearing clean underwear?
Bart: Not anymore.
When learning how to pilot a helicopter, Barney has his helicopter thrown into a tail spin. After the instructor corrects the flight and apologizes to his teacher he's told not to worry, that's what the diapers are for.
In a Treehouse of Horror episode, Bart awakens from a frightening dream. His first words after calming down are "I hope this is sweat."
In another Halloween episode, Bart says he has a story so scary you'll wet your pants. Grandpa tells him he already did.
In one episode, the children of Springfield sneak into a horror movie called The Bloodening, about children with psychic powers. During a showdown with an angry pitchfork carrying mob, they start revealing the secrets of the town by reading their minds. Just before the cutaway, the thought they reveal is "Now you're thinking 'I hope that's Shepherd's Pie in my knickers...'."
In another episode, Homer prepares to face off against a grizzly bear by constructing a makeshift suit of armor...without a seat. He explains that this is in case he gets extremely frightened, because he doesn't want to ruin the suit.
And subverted in another episode. Where Sideshow Bob has hijacked a nuke. Marge calms herself down knowing the kids have clean underwear. Cut to Bart's room, where his underwear is on his bed with sting chords as it zooms in on it.
While Maggie, as a baby, is more prone to Potty Failure, the episode featuring her first birthday showed her absolutely terrified of everyone getting close to her and the fire on the birthday candles. Cue someone asking "What's that smell?"
Krusty the Clown announced that he "seltzered" himself when he's introduced to his daughter.
In a short produced for the MTV Movie Awards, the cast of South Park is dropped into the Coliseum scene from Gladiator, and Cartman's reaction is "You guys, I crapped my pants!" Later they are saved by the aliens from Battlefield Earth and are given Scientology personality tests, which Cartman think are perfect for wiping himself.
In "Erection Day", Butters wets himself due to stage fright.
In the second episode of "Imaginationland", the episode begins with Butters safe back home. But then he wakes up and realizes he's still in Imaginationland as it's invaded by imagination's most vile creatures. The mayor explains he peed his pants and fainted.
"Le Petit Tourette" featured Cartman admitting to wetting himself when faced with big trouble.
In "Hell On Earth 2006", Cartman attempts a Bloody Mary-type ritual to summon Biggie Smalls. Just as Cartman repeats "Biggie Smalls" for the third time, Jimmy pops in the door behind him. Cartman is so scared he craps his pants.
Uncle Ruckus is mopping a hospital floor when he's suddenly confronted by three gun-toting thugs demanding to know where Gangstalicious is. Ruckus' (surprisingly even-toned) reply: "Could you repeat that again? I couldn't hear you over the sound of me shitting myself."
Ed Wuncler III claims in the first episode that, after shitting himself over a dozen times in Iraq, and running out of toilet paper and having to use his thumb after the second time, he was nicknamed "Stinkbomb" and no longer taken on patrol for fear of the stench alerting enemies.
In the half episode "Fu Dog Takes A Walk", American Dragon Jake Long has Fu Dog falling into a pool of growing green goo. Luckily, the title character snatches him out of the air.
When the depressed and drunk Bill steals a tank and ends up driving it onto a live-fire artillery range, Dale Gribble reacts thusly to a shell exploding nearby: "Gentlemen, the crap has literally been scared out of me..."
In another episode, "Gone with the Windstorm", Bobby has to deal with a strange bully at school that jumps out of weird places to scare Bobby. One scene, Bobby comes home from school wearing a pair of effeminate pair of track pants. Bobby explains the bully scared him into soiling his regular clothes..
Frank swallows a device armed to create a black hole. The agents get it out of him by scaring it out- threatening him with a painful surgical procedurean axe.
In another episode a bomb is discovered in MIB headquarters. Someone suggests evacuating the building and Jay remarks "I'm evacuating as we speak".
In an episode of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Billy having become sick of Grim's rules decides to try and fart on him after some struggling he says "here it comes!" but it doesn't go as planned then he remarks "aw now I gots to change my pants".
In another episode, Billy hops into Grim's arms, prompting him to remark, "That better be sweat drippin' down your leg."
Irwin appears to wet himself a bit. When Mandy blasts him with a fire hose, she quips, "Looks like you wet yourself again," and Irwin is shocked that someone noticed.
In the Futurama episode "War is The H Word", Fry and Bender join the army to take advantage of a military service discount at a 7/11 to get cheap gum. However, war is declared, and they are forced to fight an intergalactic battle against a bunch of bouncing balls. At one point, Fry is charged with providing covering fire for his unit when the balls mount a huge offensive. Fry chickens out and blasts a hole in the ground to hide in. Later, Zapp berates him saying "While other soldiers were fighting and dying pointlessly, he was hiding in a hole in a pool of his own cowardice." Fry's response? "That wasn't cowardice!"
Dada of Pucca pees himself on almost all episodes (or just every one), leaving a nasty yellow puddle behind. He pees himself everytime he gets scared or tense, than happens to be everytime anyone confronts him, or even talk or look at him...
In the Halloween episode "Best Little Horror House in Langley Falls", Francine pees herself while visiting Buckle the Mountain Man's haunted house.
In another episode, Stan participates in an illegal car race, and is so excited that he looks down and finds his crotch is wet.
Stan: I hope this is sweat.
Mentioned in Avatar: The Last Airbender , when Azula gave a very threatening speech to the Dai Li, staring down one agent in particular who Mai later said looked like he was going to pee his pants.
During the Equalist raid of the Pro-Bending Tournament in The Legend of Korra "And the Winner Is...", the (very dedicated) announcercovers an Equalist trespassing into his booth, aiming a lightning-bending device at him at point-blank range and the wetting of his own pants.
Buford: (on a sinking ship) Well, that's the end of that diaper.
Buford: (on a roller coaster and a musical) I'm glad I'm wearing boxers that are already brown!
Baljeet: (about to perform) I'm about to let my feelings out through these pleather pants!
Doofenshmirtz: Say goodbye to this pair of lederhosen...
Transformers Prime: When Knock Out just obtained a cybertronian artifact he wonders what it is, Megatron demonstrates its a shield generator when he fires at Knock Out without warning.
Knock Out: I think I leaked a little transmission fluid.
A very rare instance where the character doesn't wet themselves occurred in the Animaniacs cartoon "The Girl With The Googily Goop", when Wakko has to go to the bathroom after being scared by the scenery in the cartoon. Dot says that in the kind of cartoon they're in (a cartoon where inanimate objects come to life a la old Disney cartoons), the toilet comes to them. However, the toilet says that he is "going to Flushing", and a fire hydrant agrees with him. Dogs then run them over, and they forget about it. This could have been a Big Lipped Alligator Moment.
Before "The Girl With The Googily Goop", the same thing happened in "Hello Nice Warners". When Mr. Director sees a scary monstr in an Indiana Jones spoof, he says he has to use the bathroom, but before we can see the outcome, he uses a rope to lasso the monster and rocks fall on him instead.
Alluded to in a episode of [[Justice League Justice League Unlimited where minor villain Plastique is being pop quizzed on what she would do if she unexpectedly ran into Superman in a infiltration mission to the Justice League base; her reply is, "...Before or after I change my shorts?"
When the women are attacking the skyscraper in the first episode of City Hunters, one of the men has a yellow puddle form around his feet.
The book Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers notes that this is a natural reaction to extreme stress, and has little to do with cowardice. This biological response exists as a response to help you escape from danger (lightening your load, reducing the risk of getting waste in any vital systems should you be injured, creating something that masks your scent, etc). Ever heard the phrase "Piss like a race-horse"? Makes the animal (or person) lighter and therefore faster for the Fight/Flight response.
Even so, this trope is the reason why the color yellow is often associated with cowardice.
This is similar to the explanation for why turkey vultures will sometimes vomit on the approach of predators — they're shedding weight so they can fly away.
As pointed out in House To House: A Soldier's Memoir, most soldiers naturally soil themselves in combat as a reaction to the stress of battle. Battlefields rapidly become a very smelly place, and a lot of experienced troops will defecate or urinate prior to expected combat in an effort to avoid this.
Knights during the Middle Ages would often fast before the battle. Taking a dump inside full plate armor is not pleasant.
Some scavenger animals will defecate on their food if interrupted by a predator, to spoil the food for their attacker, and just disgust them in general.
There's a rather old joke about the French military, which actually did have bright red pants as part of the uniform for a while. It runs very much like the summary of the joke in the description with the exception that it has a bit of symmetry that trading the coat for pants doesn't quite have.
In the medical profession, especially nursing, a patient soiling themselves is commonly referred to as a "Code Brown."
In Col. "Mad" Mike Hoare's account of his 1964 campaign in the Congo, Congo Mercenary, he mentions an incident in which machine-gun fire blew the antenna off of a communications vehicle. The driver then reported to Hoare and said, with a mischevious grin, "Permission to change my aerial and my pants, sir?"
True story involving an incident with a sticky grenade:
"It was while practicing that a Home Guard bomber got his sticky bomb stuck to his trouser leg and couldn't shift it. A quick thinking mate whipped the trousers off and got rid of them and the bomb. After the following explosion, the trousers were in a bit of a mess — though I think they were a bit of a mess prior to the explosion."
In Russia, sudden feats of fear-induced diarrhea are referred to as "a bear's illness". This refers to an old hunting practice of hunting bears in winter or early spring, when they typically hibernate. Hunters would use rattles, and other noisy instruments to wake the bear up and lure it out of the bear-hole; the poor creature would routinely soil itself after such an unceremonious wake-up call. Incidentally, a once-widespread but now almost forgotten euphemism for doing number two was "to go hunt a bear".
"A giant lineman in the NFL strains as hard as he does to hold back a 300-pound pass-rusher for an entire game, and 99.9 percent of the time his sphincter works properly and holds back all that pressure." Meet Robbie Tobeck, the other 0.1 percent.
During the height of the Cold War, NORAD accidentally transmitted the "Nuclear Missiles Incoming" message to a local radio station instead of the usual "This is a Test" message. When the misunderstanding was finally cleared up, the Department of Defense was billed for damaged incurred, one of the items was for several pairs of underwear.