If you're planning on traveling with toddlers, there are a few things you should know. Including the possibility of potty problems on planes. Be prepared.

I’m back from my week-long “vacation” with my husband and our 16-month-old daughter. If you’re asking yourself why I put vacation in quotation marks, you’ve obviously never traveled with a toddler.

Months ago when we planned our trip to Seattle and Portland, we figured, how hard can it be to bring Cassie along? We’ll plan ahead and everything will go just fine. Other people take family vacations all the time. Besides, we need a getaway–we haven’t taken a real vacation in two years. Cassie will love the adventure.

Clearly, we were delusional about traveling with toddlers.

Fast-forward to a Skybus airplane departing from the Columbus airport one week ago: Cassie’s wearing her EarPlanes ear plugs to mitigate the changing air pressure, I’m holding at the ready snacks aplenty and our brand-new portable DVD player loaded with Teletubbies, and the plane’s just taking off.

Then, I hear it. That unmistakable sound of biohazard-like diarrhea, also known as “toxic poopie,” filling my child’s diaper. Really filling it. Several times. Jay and I look at each other, both thinking the same thought: “NOOOOOOOOO!”

Of course, we can’t get up to change her. The plane is taking off. Seatbelt signs are on. Even the flight attendants are seated and belted. So we wait. And wait. It seems like forever, but maybe 10 (or 100) minutes later, the seatbelt sign goes off. I pop out of our seats with poor Cassie, literally dripping with toxic poopie. But as I make my way up the aisle, the flight attendant stops me. “You’ll have to sit down. Someone else is using the lavatory, and we can’t have anyone stand up here waiting.”

Again, “NOOOOOOOO!” But I dutifully go back to our seats, poo-dripping child in tow, to impatiently wait. When the lavatory is vacated, we make a beeline and get in … to the smallest airplane bathroom known to man. I manage to pull down the changing shelf (about the size of a small bookshelf), get her poo-soaked clothes off and into a Ziploc, clean her up with wipes, put on a clean diaper, dress her in a clean outfit, and even wash my hands.

Don’t ask me how I did it. I was in a complete horror-induced blur. Possibly a waking blackout, if there is such a thing. But wait … it gets worse.

When we get back to our seats, Jay informs me that the diarrhea soaked through to the car seat she was strapped in. He tried to clean it up with paper towels, but to no avail. The only thing that was going to get rid of the lingering porta potty smell was a good washing machine and much detergent. Too bad we had another FOUR HOURS of flying to go.

Well, we somehow made it, though both of us (and no doubt, our fellow passengers) felt like passing out from the horrendous smell. Cassie napped innocently, watched her ‘Tubbies, and patiently waited for the flight to end. Eventually, it did. We made our way to a fine hotel with laundry facilities, where we eradicated the toxic poopy’s existence and began the rest of our trip.

I’ll admit, I’m starting with the worst point of our trip (which also happened to coincide with the beginning). But throughout the rest of this week, I’ll share more tips and tales of our adventure to the great Pacific Northwest. Good times, people! Good times!

If you're planning on traveling with toddlers, there are a few things you should know. Including the possibility of potty problems on planes. Be prepared.

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