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EC Glossary

Practicing EC

EC Glossary

The Language of Elimination Communication

There are several terms used by families that practice EC. This glossary will help explain this language of EC.


When an EC’d baby’s eliminations do not go in an appropriate receptacle (potty, toilet, sink or Nature), this is termed a “miss.” The opposite term would be a “catch,” meaning the elimination did go in an appropriate receptacle. The term “miss” refers to a missed opportunity, rather than a mistake or failure, which is the implication of the conventional toilet-training term “accident.” Experienced EC’ing mom Elizabeth Parise says “a miss” sounds friendlier. It’s par for the course when EC’ing, and even a miss gives you information about your child’s rhythms, patterns, and signals in hindsight.


When talking about when to take a baby to the potty, EC’ers will often use the term: “pottytunity.” A “pottytunity” refers to any opportunity to potty the baby – this could be during a diaper change, after a nap, before a bath, before getting in a car seat, stroller, or sling, or when arriving at a new location. Especially for part-time EC’ers, these pottytunities are great times to potty your baby and have a high likelihood of a “catch.”


As opposed to saying their babies are “toilet trained,” families practicing EC often refer to when their babies “graduated.” Some people define “graduated” as being out of diapers, regardless of “misses.” And others declare their babies “graduated” when they take primary responsibility for their pottying and can go several weeks without a “miss,” even though they still need help with clothing and/or wiping. Some babies are “daytime” graduates before being “nighttime” graduates and yet others are the opposite.

Given the variation among definitions, some people in the EC community have begun referring to “phases of gradhood” since EC is a learning process and not a time-specific event. The following is one definition of these phases as outlined by Freddy of Germany.

Phase 1: Stays dry pretty reliably with caregiver’s help
Phase 2: Signals rather consistently, needing occasional reminders
Phase 3: Independently goes to the potty
Phase 4: Is self sufficient, including wiping

Regardless of the definition, it is interesting and important to note that babies reach difference phases at different ages and there should be no expectations for any particular ability at a given age.

robin hagerty - ed

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