‘Shit or get off the Pot’ usually means to stop delaying and take action. It may be given as tough-love advice when a decision has to be made and a lot of thought has been invested, and can involve relationships where one person is hesitant in a commitment.
In trying to find where this phrase began, I came across several possible versions! The last story’s my favorite, but you can decide for yourself what sounds true or not! Maybe they all are!
The first origins of this phrase I read about has do with the military! Apparently, during WWII, many Canadian soldiers were really into the dice game, Craps. If a player was on a streak, not ‘crapping’ out, the other soldiers were said to exclaim, “Shit or get off the Pot!” Perhaps ‘Crap or get off the pot’ sounded a bit too tame!
Another possible beginning has to do with chamber pots. In this case, the saying was 100% literal! This was before indoor plumbing, and these pots were generally kept under the bed. If someone in the room was taking too long, another person might say, “Piss or get off the pot.” meaning to let someone else have a chance!
The third story is a fishing tale coming from the mid 1800’s! A common saying among American offshore fishermen was, ‘Fish or Cut Bait.’ Cutting bait meant cutting up undesirable fish and throwing them overboard to attract the more desirable catch. One job was fishing and the other was cutting bait. If one wasn’t going to do either, they needed to make way for someone who wanted the work! Over time, ‘Fish or Cut Bait’ was eclipsed by the non-maritime version of the phrase, but the meaning stayed the same!
Shit or get off the Pot!