At some point between the ages 2 and 4 our kids realize that sometimes they should take matters into their own hands, and sometimes they need to ask us for permission. When one of our kids rightly asks us for permission to do something, my wife and I thank them for asking. It's a small thing but one which warrants attention I think. The things that go in the "ask first bucket" are usually there for a reason. Sydney knows she can go potty without asking. She can refill her cup with water without asking. But she cannot go upstairs without asking and she cannot go out into the garage without asking. She is only 3 years old, and these last two have the potential to impact her safety. She has known these rules for a long while now and she is very good at keeping them, but we do not want her to forget they are still important to us. In order to reinforce the rules and help keep her invested in following them, we try to always thank her for her thoughtfulness.
I made a video to illustrate. Sydney was beside herself with joy and cheesiness as she recited her line with me.
When your little one acts in a conscientious manner make sure to tell them so! They hear "No" and "Don't" and all sorts of negatives day in and day out. Never miss the opportunity to reinforce the positive for a change. They so totally drink that stuff up.