Are you using the right value of pot? Sounds like you're using a very low value pot.
Get a multimeter, a.k.a. volt-ohm meter, a.k.a. DMM for digital multimeter. They're available for less than ten dollars, and are indispensable for electronics troubleshooting. I always try to confirm a part's value with a DMM before I install it, part of my "measure twice, saw once" philosophy.
"I have no actual information, just what the salesman told me."