More and more of domestic life is being outsourced. And with Booty Camp, that includes potty training.
It's no secret that busy parents are willing to pay for help around the house. In fact, child care, sports coaching and tutoring are expected to be a $47.5 billion industry in 2010, according to the research group IBISWorld.
But it doesn't stop there. Some smart entrepreneurs are realizing the potential of "parental outsourcing" and offering services for every nook of domestic life. Shari Green (aka The Thumblady of Long Grove, Ill.) guarantees thumb-suckers will kick the habit in five sessions with her Thumbsucking Elimination Program. For $75 an hour, Aresh Mohit will teach a New York kid how to ride a bike.
And Wendy Sweeney? Well, she has the big job: Potty training. At her Booty Camp, camouflage-clad rug rats enroll in an intense one-day session guaranteed to teach them to use the toilet without assistance or reminders. "Children aren't only toilet trained," says Sweeney, a registered nurse and certified child disciplinary instructor. "The program provides parents a major confidence boost."
She charges $300 to $500 per booty for classes in her West Chicago home. Since 2002, more than 900 children have gone through the program, and Booty Camp has seen a 40 percent increase in sales in each of the last two years.
Last year, Sweeney released a DVD kit--Booty Camp Potty Training Program: Building Self-Confidence from the Bottom Up. She's sold about 100 of the $89.99 packages so far, which include an instruction manual, flashcards, T-shirt and positive reinforcement tools such as temporary tattoos and a "success" ribbon.
A mother of six, Sweeney developed her technique through trial and error. She makes the children--not the parents--responsible for "doing their potty in the pot." Dry pants earn M&Ms or raisins. And accidents? A learning opportunity. --K.O.
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