My dog has always been fine, and she hates crates. We actually never put her in a crate, even when we're going somewhere she sits in the trunk. I think its an immense part of training that your dog understands what he can and cannot do, and that there is no wavering of that boundary line.
But yes, the potty thing is huge, with younger and older dogs. In that instance, if your dog is comfortable with crates, maybe that would be a good thing (or as someone said, containing them to a kitchen or space)