What did people use before toilet paper was invented?
Before the advent of modern toilet paper many different materials were used for the same purposes. Different materials were used depending upon the country, weather conditions, social customs and status.
People used leaves, grass, ferns, corn cobs, maize, fruit skins, seashells, stone, sand, moss, snow and water. The simplest way was physical use of one's hand. Wealthy people usually used wool, lace or hemp.
Romans were the cleanest. Wealthy used wool and rosewater and others used sponge attached to a wooden stick, soaked in a bucket of salt water.
The Greeks would use clay.
In Coastal Regions, mussel shells were used (and sometimes coconut husk).
Europeans used hand (but they also used fountains with luxury of warm water).
People from Islamic cultures used they left hand with little water (they are still doing that today). This is why it is offensive to greet someone with your left hand.
The Eskimos would use moss or snow.
The Vikings used wool.
The Colonial Americans used the core center cobs from shelled ears of corn.
The Mayans used corn cobs.
The French invented the first bidet (of course without of modern plumbing).
The Chinese invented the first toilet paper as we know it in the 14th Century.
Later people used pages from a books, newspapers, catalogs, etc.