This week's episode of our EC podcast covers the vocabulary that most people use when talking about doing EC/infant potty training with their babies.
Funny how there are so many little sub-languages out there. This one is sure to entertain...and hopefully will clear up some of the questions in your mind.
What is a miss? What is a pottytunity? What exactly is a peenie-weenie??
One of our community's lovely families has also developed their own personal language - and they call it (ec)bonics. That's toward the end of the podcast and I think you might just like it. :)
In this episode, we will cover:
- 15 of the most common terms used in the practice of EC
- Tips on what to say and do when you have a miss, misguess, or catch
- The real difference between EC, "late start EC," and early potty training
- A brand new take on talking about EC
- Plus much more...
What's linkable in this session:
- Our community member, Coach Selby's, website, stretchexpert.info
- References to my book, EC Simplified: Infant Potty Training Made Easy (version 3.0), which has been replaced by my new book, Go Diaper Free
- The Go Diaper Free private members' area (comes with my book).
Download the transcript
If you can't listen to this episode right now (um, sleeping baby!?)...download and read the transcript here:
This is the Go Diaper Free Podcast with Andrea Olson, session 7 - let’s get semantic-al!
Welcome to the Go Diaper Free Podcast, where we're all about teaching you how to stop changing diapers, starting at birth. And now your host...she’s finally getting the hang of organic gardening...Andrea Olson.
Yes, I am finally getting it and things are growing! If you need any squash, please come take it off my hands. :) So, this very informative session will get us all speaking the same language here.
As with many unique things, EC has its own native vocabulary.
In this session of the Go Diaper Free Podcast, I’m going to cover 15 of the most common EC terms and then move into something you’ll not want to miss...a little pee language my friends in Hawaii have coined. Stick around for that at the end of this episode!
So, first, here are 15 need-to-know EC Terms, Defined, so we’re all speaking the same language here:
In conventional Western potty training, if a baby doesn’t go in the potty, it’s called an “accident.”
In EC vocabulary, this changes to a “miss.” Basically, you both have missed the opportunity to potty. It’s not a mistake...nothing bad has happened (as “accident” infers). You just missed the communication coming to you, or missed the timing or signal, or didn’t respond quickly enough. Your baby missed the opportunity to ask to go.
“We’ve had several misses this morning because he is peeing every 10 minutes!”
“While I write this book, I ironically have more misses than when I’m not writing about EC.”
What to do? Ask yourself what you’ve learned from this particular experience, forgive yourself (if you’re hard on yourself), and move on with a smile.
Another EC term is “catch.” If you “catch” a pee or poo that means that you’ve successfully helped your baby go to the bathroom. You’ve “caught” the pee or poo.
“We caught a big poo first thing this morning!”
This doesn’t imply that EC is about catching...it’s just a term that folks have adopted to explain the opposite of a miss.
A mis-guess happens when you believe your baby has to pee, take her to the potty, position and cue, and she tells you that she didn’t have to go this time.
“I thought she had to go but I must have mis-guessed again.”
Mis-guesses are valuable in that they hone your awareness of baby’s actual signals and timing...and they can clue you in to when her patterns are changing.
As with a miss, ask yourself what you’ve learned from the situation, shake it off, and move forward with some new information!
And remember that you didn’t do anything “wrong” by offering potty to a baby who didn’t need to go...you are doing your very best.
Sometimes your baby lets a little pee out when she’s trying to hold it while you get her to the potty place. This is called a pre- pee.
If you find her diaper or undies to be wet while you’re en route to the potty place, she may still have to go. Offer her the potty despite the wetness, as this may have just been a pre-pee.
Some people call the erection that a boy gets when he’s about to pee a “peenie-weenie.”
Whatever you call it, it’s true that most boys get a little hard-on right before peeing. Observe a newborn boy and see that it’s a fact (but prepare yourself for a spray!). PS - Some boys also tug on their peenie-weenie prior to peeing.
Throughout your day you will offer your baby many “opportunities to potty,” otherwise known as “pottytunities.”
Pottytunities can be given based on baby’s Signals, Generic [Common] Timing, your baby’s Natural Timing, and/or Your Intuition.
They can include: upon waking, before a bath, 10 minutes after breastfeeding and then 20 minutes after that, when your baby squirms in bed, when your baby suddenly becomes fussy, when you have a thought that he may need to pee, etc.
A signal is your baby’s movement, body language, or certain noise that indicates she needs to go potty.
A cue is the noise you choose to make that tells your baby he can release his bladder and/or bowels. You establish your particular cue during the early days of observation, when you cue along with every pee or poo as it happens.
Prompt Word or Phrase
A prompt word or phrase eventually replaces the cue noise. It’s what you say when it’s time to go potty that you would like for your child to eventually say back to you when she realizes she needs to go. Examples include “potty,” “peepee,” “time to pee,” or “I need to peepee, Mama/Daddy.” When the cue noise seems age-inappropriate or even bothersome to either you or your baby, or baby is starting to be verbal, it’s time to switch from cue noises to prompt words or phrases.
Generic Timing refers to common times that most babies need to pee or poo. Examples include at a diaper change, upon waking, and when taken out of the carseat.
In addition to the more generic times that most babies need to go, your baby’s pottying also follows a baby-specific, more personal pattern. Examples of natural timing are that your baby needs to poo every morning at 6am, or that she pees 10 minutes after every feeding.
Intuition can take the form of a thought, emotion, physical sensation, hunch, or mental picture that is telling you that your baby needs to potty. Intuition can also take the form of a counterintuitive thought that says, “he can’t possibly need to go again.”
A potty pause happens when your baby refuses to potty and/or you experience several misses for an expanded period of time, such as 3 days of misses in the midst of a fairly regular, predictable pottying routine.
Visit us at godiaperfree.com for more info on potty pauses. They are more common than I’d like them to be, and 95% of them are caused by over-offering the potty and/or hyperfocusing on EC, two very common mistakes.
Some ECers have lessened their use of this term because “communication” is the goal of EC, not “completion,” but you still may hear the term. Graduation means that your baby has completed EC and is now potty independent.
The exact definition for graduation can range from “always tells me she needs to pee and rarely has a miss” to “can take himself to the potty, pull down his pants, and wipe himself when he’s finished.”
You can guess that “graduation” can be a misleading, convoluted concept.
I’ll leave out all the phases and stages of gradhood that I used to toss around. Although the terms may help you gather an identity within this process, they sometimes make you feel defeated, like you’re never going to be done, instead of appreciating exactly where you are.
My take is this: even with conventional toilet training, accidents happen after the child is pretty much “done.” These usually occur during growth spurts, teething, illness, or major family or developmental transitions. These accidents are a form of communication about the overall wellness of a child, believe it or not.
You will know when you’re “graduated”...you won’t have thought about pottying for 4 hours straight and then your child will ask to go, or you’ll prompt him when you see his peepee dance. That’s when you know you’re done. You’ll still be needed for the occasional prompt, and to wipe, and maybe to assist with pants, but otherwise it’ll be pretty clear when this all “clicks” and the hard work is mostly done!
If you, like many ECing parents, need help wrapping up the EC process at 14-18 months, please join the Go Diaper Free Community for more guidance. You can also go straight to my mama friend, Jamie’s, book if you’re at 18 months or over right now, and you’re wanting to graduate - see the show notes for the link if you won’t be able to remember it OR visit godiaperfree.com/pottytraining to grab a copy and get done.
Late Starter (5-12 months)
“Late Starter” is what it’s called when you begin EC with a baby who is 5-12 months old. It is referred to as “late” because the process begins after the first, most opportune window of starting EC (0-4 months) has closed.
I don’t like to call it this anymore because it makes one feel like a loser!
You’re not late. You’re here now. Whatever.
However, if you are starting EC at this age (which most of you are!), please visit us at Go Diaper Free for tips on how to begin.
Early Start Potty Training (12+ months)
The late starters’ EC groups say that beginning potty learning after the age of 12 months should no longer be called “EC” because the child is so developmentally different from a 5-12 month old. The process of potty learning after 12 months is equally different.
Therefore, at 12+ months it’s not called “Late Starter EC” anymore...it’s called “Early Start Potty Training” because you’re starting conventional potty training early.
Hope this doesn’t confuse you. Feel free to call it whatever you like. I do.
But, basically, the time range I’m defining here includes: after your baby is 12 months old but before the usual starting time of conventional potty training, which, as it’s based on the child’s individual “readiness,” varies greatly. Therefore I’ve left the age range for Early Start Potty Training open-ended...as 12+ months.
I call all of this, ages 5-18 months, “Starting EC Older.”
In any case, the philosophy, principles, and processes of EC shared in this book are applicable to children beyond 12 months old (up to 18 months)...you just may need to modify some obvious details.
Just know that non-coercive, gentle listening and responding can be practiced with every child.
For more information, visit the Go Diaper Free Community and we can help you out.
Now for something a little more fun...what two of my readers from Hawaii have coined (ec)bonics:
Tanya, Coach Selby, and their lovely daughter Quan Yin, have developed a very fun way to talk about things regarding their EC practice. Coach Shelby is a stretching expert who runs a website called stretchexpert.info among other things about staying in shape. They keep their minds in shape by making EC with Quan Yin very, very fun. They are a diverse family who have coined the term (ec)bonics and have been creating a pee vocabulary list of their own:
pee mistic - as in the phrase “pee-mistic with life in the ec world”
pee-dar - keeping the pee radar on and not have a pee-nesia moment:) totally forgetting about pee and than moving into poo-noia and pee-noia...Wow!
pee-tainty - Quan, you sure you don't need to go? :)
pee laxing - as in the sentences: We are pee laxing... that why i can write you right now... we are pee-laxing only for a little while...because we are recovering from pee dundancy ( from offering too many potties)...
Pee-flecting - pee-flection is important to help us catch more pees! (and get peed on less)
And when we get goofy smiles in the mirror as she tinkles, we call that positive peedback.
pee-zaster - When you realize you're missing a pee after a 4am feeding and jump to grab the potty which you forgot to empty at 2am and it spills all over you. Baby kindly stopped peeing when you jumped thinking you were getting her to the potty but resumed peeing on you as the potty and cold pee tumbled to floor. Pee-zaster.
Ahhh...thanks you guys. I bet doing EC in your family is way fun. With my daughter who will be born in October I’m going to shoot for having this type of experience, for sure, and probably use some of these terms in future videos that I post in the Go Diaper Free Community area. More fun to be had!
So that’s it for this episode. You can find the show notes and transcript at godiaperfree.com/07.
Please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes and, if you can squeeze it in, leave me a review! It will help me improve the show and will help others find out about EC for themselves...which is a good, good thing. :)
Next time we are going to look at Part 1 of 4 of a series that covers “How to Know When Your Baby Needs to Pee.” I think we’re ready to dive right in, so I hope to see you there!
Til then, hope you’re having a pee-tastic time with EC!
Please leave a comment below about the EC vocabulary you use with your baby.
About Andrea Olson
I'm Andrea and I spend most of my time with my husband and 5 children (newborn to 8 years old) and the rest of my time teaching other new parents how to do Elimination Communication with their 0-18 month babies. I love what I do and try to make a difference in one baby or parent's life every single day. (And I love, love, love, mango gelato.)