But what if the household member you are waiting for is the pet cat?
For cat owner Kristine Krnel a few minutes of exercising bladder control was an easy trade for a smelly, messy apartment.
Krnel, who resides in a Sydney unit, is in the final stages of training her White Russian cat Rascal to use a human toilet with a three-step training product called Litter Kwitter.
"When you have cat litter on the floor it can go everywhere and it's smelly," Krnel said.
"Now when I have people over I don't have to worry about the smell. All I have to do is press a button to flush. It's better for the cat and better for me."
Many people may find the image of a cat balancing on the rim of a human toilet while doing their business to be humorous, if not hilarious.
And they wouldn't be alone.
Home videos of cats using human toilets on YouTube are attracting millions of hits, with one video drawing over 13.5 million views.
But for Sydney couple and Litter Kwitter inventors Jo and Terry Lapidge the training kit was a solution to a real problem.
"Dealing with cat poop is the number one problem with owning a cat," Jo told AAP.
"I wanted a solution where I didn't have to deal with my cat's toileting issues. I thought 'we have a perfectly good toilet, if we could use it why couldn't my cat use it'."
Jo admits the idea for the Litter Kwitter did not originate from opportunistic identification of a gap in the pet product market - but from the pursuit for a solution to an irritating problem.
"We bought our cat, Doogie, and after a short while I was regretting the decision. As fast as I could clean the litter tray, he would go and soil it," she said.
Jo considered giving Doogie away but while watching the film Meet the Fockers, in which a family's cat uses their human toilet, she had the brainwave that lead to the birth of Litter Kwitter.
"That was the eureka moment. I thought wow, I wonder if I can do that with my cat," she said.
Litter Kwitter was awarded the PIAA (Pet Industry Association of Australia) New Product of the Year Award and best invention on ABC TV New Inventors in 2005 and has since sold over 750,000 units worldwide.
The product is now sold in 12 languages across the globe.
Despite its comical value and convenience factor, the Litter Kwitter has the additional benefit of reducing the environmental impact of pet cats.
According to the Australian Companion Animal Council there were an estimated 2.2 million pet cats living in Australia in 2007.
Throughout an average cat's lifetime it will use somewhere between 1.5 and 3 tonnes of cat litter, which inevitably ends up in landfill.
Increasingly, bio-degradable cat litter products are entering the pet product market, but training a cat to use the human toilet can potentially eliminate cat litter from the home altogether.
Add to that the cost savings - and having a cat that doesn't use its paws to bury its business and then walk all over your counter tops - and it's hard to see a downside.
But the journey to fully enjoy the benefits that come with the Litter Kwitter can be difficult for some cat owners.
Jo claims the Litter Kwitter works 80 per cent of the time but says "the success rate would be higher if some customers looked at the instructions and took notice".
Animal behaviour consultant, Dr Joanne Righetti says novelty products like this one are on the rise and while she advocates trying new products, she says it may not be easy for every cat to adapt to the Litter Kwitter.
"Some cats love it and are easily trained. But it's perhaps not the product for every cat," Dr Righetti said.
"Some cats have the drive to use a litter tray and cover up, so it may not feel balancing on a toilet is right for them.
"My advice is to give it a go and see if it works."
The product works by gradually modifying the cat's behaviour using three stages of plastic casing that attaches to the toilet seat. Hole sizes increase and the amount of cat litter decreases with each stage.
"Cats hate change. They love routine, so any change has to be very gradual," Jo said.
Dr Righetti says the biggest problem with modifying cat behaviour is motivation.
"Cats have to want to change or we have to be strong enough to make them change."
But although the product may require patience and some determination, Jo says the outcome is worth it.
She describes the first time she heard Doogie use the human toilet as "the closest thing to bliss".
And Melbourne cat owner, Alex Barreto, whose Burmilla cat Ziggy is on the second stage of the training system, says he will never go back.
"We were recommended the product by a friend. We bought it to reduce the amount of work we had to do and to keep the area clean and hygienic," he said.
"We wouldn't go back. Never."
Krnel says successfully training her cat also comes with other benefits, namely the admiration of her family and friends.
"Everyone thinks it's really amazing that I've trained my cat to go to the toilet like humans," she said.
Tips for successfully training your cat with the Litter Kwitter include: reward the animal for desired behaviour, read and follow the instructions and, most importantly, be patient.
* Litter Kwitter is available from most pet stores and will be available in Pet Stock and Pet Barn from September.
By Elise Scott