My oldest was adopted at 10 months, never needed a crate. The golden was potty trained at 12 weeks and never chewed anything...he was out of the crate really early, but he had the option of sleeping in there any time he wanted. The GSD was out of the crate at night at 4 months, it took her about a week to figure out night time was sleeping time, not chasing the cats time. The GSD didn't care for the crate from day 1. She was in there until she was about 6 months or so. Now all three dogs and the cats have free roam of the house when I'm not home with no problems. On days that I'm off work all they do is sleep, so I'm guessing that is what they do when I'm at work.
Misty- Samoyed Mix, Tannor- Golden Retriever CGC
Robyn- GSD CGC, TC, Midnite-GSD CGC,TC, Brennan-Golden Retriever CGC, Batman-Husky/Greyhound , Apollo-GSD