Why I Won’t Be Spending $2,000 to Have My Child Potty Trained


There’s a lot money can buy you — nice cars and big houses, for example. You can also hire someone to help you with just about anything. I know someone who hired a private coach to help her kid learn to ride a bike. I know someone else who hired a service to help sleep-train her baby. I won’t poo-poo either one of them. In the first instance, my friend’s then-preschool-age son just wasn’t listening to her or her husband, and as many parents know, sometimes it’s just easier to get your little ones to cooperate with anyone but you. Plus, if you can afford it and don’t have some fantasy of bonding over mastering a two-wheeler, then why not? As for the sleep-training service, when you’re exhausted because getting your baby or toddler on a sleep schedule is proving to be cruel and unusual punishment, and if an expert can make it happen for you, surely it’s money well spent if that money is of no consequence to your savings account.

Here’s what I will poo poo, however: A potty training service for your child. NYC Potty Training  is a service established by a woman named Samantha Allen. On the one hand, you can’t fault her for trying. If you’re raising kids in many parts of Manhattan, you might just have a lot of money; you kind of have to — it’s an absurdly expensive place to live. And as is sometimes the case with people who have lots of money, they do silly things with it. Like have someone else potty train their kids.

According to ABC News, NYC Potty Training is “believed to be the city’s first profession potty-training service.” That’s actually pretty telling, and here’s why: If money can buy it, rich people in New York City have the receipts to prove they own it. If this is a new service, then it means that most parents there know that potty training their kids is a job they’ve actually managed to do all this time. Otherwise this is a service that probably would have existed before.

NYC Potty Training boasts, “we will potty train your child in 1-2 days, and you can sit and watch, be totally involved in the process, or just come home from work to your toilet-trained tot!” A consultation is a minimum of $200 and two days worth of service will run you up to $1,750. Well, wow. We actually potty trained our younger daughter in two days, too. It didn’t cost $1,950, though. It cost us nothing.

Yes, it was gross and inconvenient. It still is; even though she’s trained, she still has accidents on occasion. I still need to wipe her butt, tell her not to put her hand in the toilet, and remind her that getting up while she’s in mid-pee to tell me something is not OK. Really, it’s not.

The thing is that when I signed on for parenting, I had no delusion that it was going to be all unicorns, four-leaf clovers, and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow. I knew that pot would sometimes be filled with poop — and that the pot with poop in it might be one that I cook with since my kid thought it was funny to poop in it instead of the toilet. I knew when I signed on for parenting it would fill my heart and then some, but that the lovely parts don’t exist in a vacuum. For every gentle butterfly kiss, there’s explosive diarrhea. On the hallway carpet. Because your kid just didn’t get to the bathroom in time. I knew that the love for my children would, at times, be messy and inopportune.

My husband and I are both busy. We both work full time. But we also both realize that’s what Saturday and Sunday are for. And our daughter was thrilled to get potty training down, and thrilled that we were thrilled that she got it down. It was kind of a bonding experience, if not a smelly, soul- and carpet-staining one. But even more so, it was just one of those things you do as a parent; it was what I signed up for.

I can understand parents of kids who have developmental delays or other physical or emotional issues needing an expert to guide them in the potty-training process. I am not passing judgement on those parents, or any others. But other than a situation like that, I just can’t wrap my head around paying someone that kind of money to potty train your own child. The process is about more than just the training. It’s showing your kids that you’re invested in them. That they’re not just a trophy and you’re not a wind-up doll. There are some things you can hire a tutor for. But there are the times as a parent that you need to roll up your sleeves and teach your kid how to handle the more unpleasant sides of life with dignity and discretion.

Not every kid will get potty trained in two days, and the process is not likely to be fun. But trust me, you don’t want to miss it.

Would you pay to have your child potty trained? Why or why not?

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