Establishing a Potty Spot
If you have a yard, picking a spot in the yard for your poodle to use as a toilet area has several advantages:
When you take him there, he knows what to do.
The area will smell (to him) like his past potty activity, triggering him to do his business.
Urine stains on the grass are limited to one area.
Cleaning up feces is easier — you don't have to make a treasure hunt of cleaning the whole yard.
If you've ever had to negotiate around a yard where a dog freely poops, you know how much more pleasant it can be if you isolate an area for the dog's bathroom business.
Choosing the Spot
Choose an area that's not too far from the door. If your pup has to go, he'll want to relieve himself immediately. The potty spot can be a grassy area (though if it's used throughout the life of your poodle, it'll probably be marked with urine stains) or you can use some sort of substance like wood bark or pea gravel. Another alternative is to plant the potty area with clover, which resists urine scalding.
Having a dog that has been taught to urinate on grass comes in handy when you travel, since you can almost always come up with a grassy patch to ask your dog to potty on. If you think you want your potty area to have a substrate other than grass, you might be wise to make that change after your dog has become accustomed to grass.
If you have a male dog that will eventually lift his leg, he might appreciate there being a tree or other vertical object for him to pee on. Some males don't lift their legs in their own yards if other dogs don't enter it — they don't consider it necessary to mark a vertical surface if there are no other dogs around to smell it.
Using the Potty Area
When you take your poodle to the potty spot, don't waste any time getting there, and take the most direct route possible. At the beginning, you might want to carry your puppy (it's unlikely he'll pee in your arms). After that, use a leash if your dog doesn't walk right with you to the area. Take the same route each time, so your pup knows what he's going to do when he enters the yard.
Put him down in the area; then prepare to be patient. Keep an eagle eye on him so you know exactly when he pees or poops. But don't talk to him — let him concentrate on the business at hand. As you see him about to squat, give him a cue that in the future will mean “Go to the bathroom now, please.” That cue can be something direct like “Go potty,” or something cuter or more cryptic like “Concentrate” or “Hurry up.” In the future, particularly when you travel, you'll be grateful to have a cue so that your dog will understand when it's an appropriate time and place to go to the bathroom.
Be sure to exam your pup's stool after he poops. It can give you valuable information about his health. Any big change in stool, especially diarrhea, is worth noting. After you've examined it, clean it up. If you keep your potty area pristinely clean, your pup will be happier about using it. And you want your pup to be happy about using the potty area!