Potty training isn't a particularly enjoyable stage for any parent. For the fortunate minority, it goes without a hitch, and their smug clever little tots are out of nappies within days. But for most of us, it's a lengthy process that involves 27 steps back for every one step forward. I've heard more than one desperate mother wail, "I'd pay someone to potty train my child!" as she frantically scrubs poo stains out of her carpet.
But would you really? Isn't potty training just one of those things parents have to do? Part of their initiation, if you like. Are you really a parent if you delegate all the grotty, smelly, (quite literally) crappy jobs to someone else?
If you don't care about that and would rather keep your hands (and floor surfaces) clean, there's a woman in England who's willing to wean your kids out of their nappies. Amanda Jenner of the Potty Training Academy calls herself the U.K.'s "first professional potty trainer" and is apparently raking it in, as parents pay £2,000 for her services.
Jenner, 42, who is a mum of three, claims to be able to potty train any child within a week, which involves moving into the family home (armed with a giant box of toilet training goodies, including reward charts and prizes) for up to five nights. She mostly works with children over the age of 3 but has worked with a 9-year-old in the past.
If you're sitting reading this, wondering, "Who are these crazy people who pay someone two grand to potty train their kid?" well, Jenner admits many of her clients are "very wealthy," but others are of average income.
And there's clearly a demand for what some satisfied clients have hailed "the toilet whisperer": Jenner has a waiting list of almost a year. Now, that's the part I don't understand. I can just about get my head around paying through the nose for potty training help when you've tried and just can't make it work on your own. But booking this service a year in advance is basically saying, "I have intentions of potty training my kid whatsoever."
Still, we all approach parenting differently, and if someone has the disposable income to spend at the Potty Training Academy, nobody is in a position to judge. Modern life is all about the quick (often expensive) fix to a problem, so why shouldn't potty training be any different?
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