A woman who claims to be the UK’s first “professional potty trainer”, charges parents £2,000 to get their kids out of nappies.
Mum-of-three Amanda Jenner, from Bournemouth, moves into people’s homes for up to five nights to train toddlers through her ‘Potty Training Academy’.
Jenner said she’s got a waiting list that’s almost a year long, with families asking her to help potty train kids who are up to nine years old.
“It always works and I’ve never had any problems with any children after I have visited them,” said Jenner.
“I go to the house for three days and live with the family, but if it takes more days then I will stay an extra couple of days.”
Jenner said her first experience of potty training problems came with her own children. Her eldest child refused to use any toilet other than their own potty, so she was forced to carry it with her everywhere.
One day, as she was emptying its contents into a drain in the street and a passer-by stopped to complain to her.
That inspired her to invent My Carry Potty and she has spent the last 18 years providing potty training support to parents and schools.
“When I left school I never thought I’d be training kids to use the toilet,” she said. “I thought I would be an air hostess.
“But this is a huge problem and I’m determined to make a difference.”
Before Jenner starts training, she spends time observing family life and advising on the child’s diet.
“I have been likened to Supernanny and even called ‘the toilet whisperer’,” she said.
“I go in with a lovely big box of goodies to encourage children to use the potty, such as charts and rewards, but I look at absolutely everything.”
Jenner said she often stays up until midnight answering emails from thousands of parents who submit questions to her via her website.
“I’ve read some real horror stories, and it just makes me so sad as it should not happen,” Jenner said.
“Parents are constantly asking for my help, telling me their children are being bullied for soiling themselves at school.
“The oldest child I have been asked to potty train was nine years old.
“It has such a huge effect on the child’s life. They can’t go to sleepovers, they can’t spend time with their friends, and they are worried about going to school.
“It’s becoming an even bigger problem, but I’m passionate about making a difference about it.”
As well as providing support to parents, Jenner’s Potty Training Academy also has a programme and resources for primary schools to teach pupils potty etiquette.
“In one class of 26 five-year-olds, several of them were not potty trained at all,”s she said. “It’s crazy.
“The teachers cannot teach properly if they keep having to look after children who have wet themselves, and they don’t have the time to devote to teaching children how to use the toilet.
“They just have to hand the parents a bag of wet clothes at the end of each day.”
Jenner said the blame lies more with societal change than it does with individual parents.
“In the 1950s the average age at which children were potty trained was 15 months, as they always had family members with them,” she explained.
“Now, as parents are having to go back to work and children’s care is left to a combination of parents, nurseries, and sometimes nannies, the average age is now three-and-a-half.
“I often have parents blaming nurseries and vice versa.
“The other thing is, it has to be fun.! That’s why we provide parents with reward charts and encourage parents to give children prizes.”