Potty Training in Panama
By: Elyse Mallay
Since giving birth to my now 2-year-old daughter, my husband and I longed for our old travel days. Truth said, perhaps me more than him. Travel was and still is something I hold dear to my heart and I looked forward to sharing these experiences with my daughter since the moment she was born, the memories, the photo ops would be something we’d share for a lifetime. Joking about the photo ops. ;) Kinda. But Amber Fillerup does it so flawlessly, so clearly we could too, right?
Once we moved to Houston, Central America and South America moved further up on the bucket list. Proximity, flight prices, it all made sense. Panama quickly became the destination of choice. We needed a break, I just finished my master's degree, my husband had a busy year at work and we craved relaxation and the beach. One thing that didn’t align was we were right in the middle of potty training. And when I say in the middle, she was probably more at a 30% success rate. You know, that dicey stage when they know what to do but they’re rebelling against their independence. Yeah, that stage.
While packing for Panama, I was attempting to be one of those cool, minimal hipster parents, just enough clothes, just enough sunscreen, just enough diapers, no excess – one large suitcase for all of us, that’s it.
The trip started great. It was exactly the wind-down we needed. Great food, lovely people that were all too willing to share the safe spots and the not so friendly kid spots of Panama City. We ate well, drank delicious coffee, swam, slept (2-year-old included), and woke to the sunrise.
About halfway through the trip, we started to run low on diapers and the swim diapers were long gone. Who was I kidding, nothing about a 2-year-old is minimal, they’re extra with a side of extra. My husband went out into the city on a diaper mission. It didn’t matter what kind, as long as they fit, it would hold us over. Ha! Hahahahahaaaa….
Any parent that’s been in the potty-training trenches knows the drill: 30 mins of sitting on the potty, put on the diaper – pee in the diaper, repeat. Things would have been fine if that was all there was to it. But while swimming, she decided it was time for #2. This was less than ideal but what made it worse was we didn’t notice right away. Nope, not until it noticed us. It was a rather awkward elevator ride back to the seventh floor, my husband and I looking straight ahead, avoiding eye contact with the other passengers, while the smell of wet, unabsorbed #2 saturated the elevator. Running to our room there was a trail, following us. Housekeeping at the Westin in Panama: I am SO SO sorry. We perhaps ruined a few crisp white hotel towels.
Turns out Panama has a lot of offer, but not in the diaper department. My little piece of advice when traveling abroad, bring more diapers than you think you’ll need, and then some more. Otherwise, your lovely well-deserved vacation is more of a shitshow. Literally.