Free Run of the House
The overwhelming opinion is that crate training is the way to go, and I've read plenty of threads on it, but I haven't seen anything on how to "wean" your dog off the crate, eventually letting them have free run of the house.
The way my parents did it when I was growing up (and in retrospect I don't agree with a lot of their training methods) was that the dog stayed crated at night and when everyone was gone for maybe 6 to 8 months or so...until no more accidents, house manners were learned (no chewing, etc) and they learned to lay down and chill, that is, not overly playful all the time. Then there was maybe a small period of time where the dog was crated only during the day, but allowed to sleep out at night. Then the crate was taken away and the dog had FRotH.
Now I think it's worth saying that my parents mistakenly used the crate as a punishment tool (e.g. dog has an accident, slap on the butt, NO!, taken outside briefly, then into the crate it goes), so potty training and house manners may have taken much longer with our dogs than it should have.
But my question is...what steps at what ages do you take with your dogs to remove the crate and let them have FRotH, or do you even let them at all? Even when they are allowed FRotH do you still keep the crate set up just in case?
"We treat our dogs as if they were 'almost human': that is why they really become 'almost human' in the end."
-C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity