London - She’s Britain’s first professional potty trainer. For £2 000 (about R34 000) Amanda Jenner says she can wean children out of nappies in around a week.
The mother-of-three makes a living potty training other people’s children and now has a waiting list of almost a year – with families asking her to help with youngsters aged up up to nine years old.
“I go to the house for three days and live with the family, but if it takes more days then I will stay longer,” said Mrs Jenner. “It always works and I’ve never had any problems with any children after I have visited them.
“It’s really taken off. I’m going next week to potty train some twins. It’s mostly children over three that I go to visit.
“Some of the clients are very wealthy, but some are not. The sad thing is that almost all of them think they have failed, when it’s just a really difficult thing to do.”
The £2 000 buys Mrs Jenner’s undivided attention. She spends the three days not just toilet training, but observing the family life and even advising on the child’s diet.
Mrs Jenner, from Bournemouth, said: “I have been likened to Supernanny and even called ‘the toilet whisperer’. 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.”
Back at home, she’s often up late answering emails from thousands of parents who submit questions via the website for her business, the Potty Training Academy.
She said: “I’ve read some real horror stories. Parents are constantly asking for my help, telling me that their children are being bullied for soiling themselves at school.
“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, the Potty Training Academy also has a programme and resources for primary schools.
She said: “In one class of 26 five-year-olds, several of them were not potty trained at all. It’s crazy.” Mrs Jenner says the blame lies more with societal change than it does with individual parents.
She said: “In the 1950s the average age at which children were potty trained was 15 months, as they always had family members with them. Now – as parents have to go back to work and children’s care is left to a combination of parents, nurseries, and sometimes nannies – the average age is three-and-a-half.”