The first product designed specifically to wipe one’s behind was invented in 1857 by a New Yorker named Joseph Gayetty, who sold boxes of individual sheets infused with aloe. It was a difficult sell and he didn't exactly wipe out the competition as Americans still had the free Sears catalog, as well as other free alternatives.
In 1890, the Scott brothers came up with toilet paper on a roll, which they mainly marketed to hotels and drugstores. It was still a difficult sell and many were reluctant to go out and order something so personal. They managed to cling on and are still selling their product today.
As the 1900s began, more homes included inside flush toilets. That is when greater acceptance came for toilet paper. Indoor plumbing did not do well with catalog paper or other heavier alternatives, like leaves, etc. People required a product that could be flushed away with minimal clogging or damage to the pipes and catalog paper, corncobs, and moss did not flush well. Toilet paper became an alternative that still works.
The United States spends more than $6 billion a year on toilet tissue, more than any other nation in the world. Maybe someone can invent a way to turn junk mail into toilet paper and it would at least have some value.