In Dragon Ball, Goku has his full hidden potential awakened by drinking the Ultra Divine Water, allowing him to use his Great Ape power in his base form. This later helps him fight against King Piccolo, as he has become powerful enough to defeat the demon king.
In Dragon Ball Z, Gohan and Krillin have their potentials unlocked by Grand Elder Guru to help them fight against Frieza's forces. Guru also unlocked the potential of Dende, resulting in Dende gaining his signature healing ability, before he went to tell Gohan and the others the password for the Namekian Dragon Balls.
The Unlock Potential ability has been seen in video games. These include the Budokai series and Burst Limit. Yamcha, Tien Shinhan and Chiaotzu can travel to Namek and have Guru unlock their hidden potential if they are not killed in the battle with the Saiyans in Dragon Ball Z: Super Saiya Densetsu.
Awakening Potential abilities
An ability possessed by the Namekian Grand Elder Guru and by Old Kai. Guru's ability allowed him to awaken a person's hidden potential (however if that person's potential was already at its maximum it would do nothing). Guru's technique was simple; he would place his hand upon the person's head and draw out their hidden potential (unlocking it). It takes very little time to perform (although it could depend on the amount of potential being unlocked).
Babidi's Mind Control is an ability used by Babidi and several characters affiliated with him. Along with putting the target under Majin mind control, this technique also draws the target's hidden power out beyond its limits.
Old Kai's Unlock Ability is an advanced technique requiring much more time and effort to unlock a person's hidden potential. Old Kai gained this ability from an accidental Potara fusion with an Old Witch. The process usually takes 25 hours. But with extremely powerful warriors like Gohan, it took a lot more time.
The Dragon Ball GT Perfect Files state that Super Saiyan 4 is effectively a potential unlock, as the form draws the user's power out to its utmost limits.
- Unlock Potential - caused by the Ultra Divine Water or Grand Elder Guru's drawing out their potential
- Majin - caused by Babidi's Manipulation Sorcery
- Potential Unleashed - caused by Old Kai's Unlock Ability
In the Dragon Ball Z Collectible Card Game, Babidi's Mind Control appears as part of the "Unlocked Potential" card.
In the Sim Dragon mode of Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3, the player's character can randomly encounter Old Kai who will offer to unlock their potential. After his ritual is done, the character's stats will be at max and they will also go up a level (Note: This is basically a stat increase).
In Dragon Ball: Xenoverse, adult Gohan can access his full potential through the Potential Unleashed transformation Ultimate Skill. In the Resurrection ‘F’ Pack DLC, the Future Warrior can train under Elder Kai and at the end they will go through Elder Kai's ritual (the same one used to unlock Gohan's) to have him unlock their full potential allowing them to obtain their own Unlock Potential transformation. The Future Warrior's version appears under the name Unlock Potential and is a transformation Ultimate Skill that is easier to maintain than other transformations and like the Kaio-ken is available to all races.
In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, a time rift forms around Guru's house on Namek. While investigating this anomaly, the Future Warrior can help Nail defend the Namekian Dragon Balls from Frieza's invading army. If they are diligent in their defense of Guru's house, then they will be allowed to meet Guru who will use his power to draw out their dormant power which will increase their attribute point limit from 1-100 to 1-125.
Also in Xenoverse 2, the Pure Majin, Great Namek, and Turn Golden forms allow Majins, Namekian, and Frieza Clansmen access to their race's full potential. Completing the Super Class Advancement Test at the Time Patroller Academy will also grant the Future Warrior access to their Potential Unleashed Awoken Skill (interestingly it is unlocked without the use of Elder Kai's ritual).
After the Version 1.04.00 Update in Xenoverse 2, the Future Warrior can visit Guru again (after he teaches the Warrior how to increase the Dragon Balls power), who will reveal that the Warrior still has untapped power slumbering deep inside them and states this is the first time he has encountered something like this. He will then use his power which allows them to raise their level to 85 (as the original Level Cap was 80) increasing the Warrior's Level Cap to 85. This effects all the player's other avatars as well (even if they have not completed this event).
In Dragon Ball Fusions, it appears as a Special Move under the name Unleash Potential. It allows the user to draw out an a single ally's potential granting them the "Release" status which allows the released ally to deal 1.5 times damage during their next turn. It can be learned by Namekian Tekka at Level 88. It can also be learned by Sanla (Lv. 90), Dennish (Lv. 97), Bagetta (Lv. 99), Lugo (Lv. 99), and Ninny (Lv. 100).