We just picked up our 8 week old white GSD on Friday. She is doing great with the crate training. At the moment she is relaxing in her crate no whining at all. Here is what we are doing. I wake up at 5 am and take her right outside within 15 minutes she does her business. Mostly just pees. I bring her right back inside and she goes in her crate. We feed her in her crate. 30 to 45 minutes later my wife takes her out to the (same area), then she poops and pees. We bring her in and let her out for approximately a half hour. Then back into the crate.
Our son is home during the day. so he follows our pattern. When the dog comes out of the crate she is always immediately taken out side to her designated spot to go to the bathroom. He can bring her back in for playtime but after awhile, its back into the crate. He determins how often he takes her out of the crate during the day because my wife and I are at work. On thing to remember, a dog this age can only hold its water about 4 hours. We feed her about 6 pm, once again eats in the crate. 30 to 45 minutes later we take her out to her designated spot to go to the bathroom.
My wife and I come home, we play with her and depending how much water she drinks, we watch closely and take her out about 45 minutes later. When we can't keep a close eye on her we always put her in her crate. We repeat this over and over out of the crate, outside. Drinks water, outside. We keep the water out, but sometimes restrict for a little bit to keep the night flowing. She has water before bed around 11 pm, then once again we take her out. Back in the crate, it's now bedtime. Because she can only hold her water for 4 hrs my son takes her out at 2 am. This is our cycle. We will gradually extend the times she can hold her water as she develops. Right now, she is laying in her crate as happy as can be. It helps that her crate is in my wife's office so she spends a lot of time in there. I'm going to go and play with her now before bed! Hope this helps!