I have 5 - 6 lbs of sauerkraut in a crock with a water vacuum seal. I read that the first 24 - 48 hours are crucial to the success of the kraut. I also read that the kraut should develop its own liquid during this time, and that one can pour boiled water on top if it doesn't. However, I also read that it shouldn't be disturbed for a fairly long period of time. I am a bit confused. Should I check on the progress after a few days, or not?
Don't check on it.
When I lived in Virginia I used to drive up to Pennsylvania every year to this little Amish farm to buy a gallon of the best sauerkraut I've ever tasted. They showed you how they made it, and I remember the farmer stressing two things: (1) sterilize the jars, (2) don't touch it for 2 months.
I allow mine to ferment at 65-70 deg. F for 7 weeks.