Okay, perhaps I can add some useful helpful info, perhaps I can only commiserate with you all...
my dd is now 3 years and 3 months and she STILL has the same problem.
She resisted sleeping and naps from the beginning. Well, I think it was from around 18 months, but before that we were backpacking with her and rarely had anything resembling like a schedule or a settled environment so its hard to tell.
We tried everything. occasionally something would work, for a few days, but in the end, our girl just resists sleeping.
We are a very relaxed family, we dont have any rules or routines as such, and to be honest, i dont really care when my dd goes to bed, however many times it gets past midnight and I am desperately tired and want to go to sleep, but dd is still bouncing around the house
: and sometimes she's obviously really really tired, super fussy and cranky, and she just wont go to sleep.
In the beginning, around 2 years, we did try *everything*, and the things that really worked was getting her up early in the morning. we never actually WOKE her up, we just created an environment that wansn't easy to sleep in - opening the bilnds, turning on the radio, washing dishes loudly, stuff like that, at around 7.30. I encouraged her to take a nap early in the afternoon, and if it got to be after 4 or 5pm, I would keep her awake, knowing that if she slept so late in the day she wouldnt sleep at night.
in the end i realised that I was spending so much energy trying to control her sleeping pattern, and the final result was that I still had to go on trying everything I could think of and she still resisted sleeping.
At some point, I realised that I do the same thing myself - I resist going to sleep. I have to be seriously falling asleep before I will go to bed. So why should I expect my dd to be any different.
I totally let go of trying to mess with her sleeping habits, let her go to sleep when she likes. the result was that she still stays up late, but I'm not bothered by it. if I want to go to sleep before her, I explain to her that I'm going to bed soon, I brush my teeth, turn off all the lights except for a nightlight in her room or in the living room. I invite her to come to bed with me, but if she isnt ready, I remind her that I'm going to sleep and she shouldn't disturb me. I leave her water to drink, a snack, some nice toys and books, a video on and instructions to stay up until she feels sleepy, to help herself to what she likes, but to let me have my sleep.
Its working really well. and usually she comes to bed shortly after me. If she does seem like she needs to sleep, I find a great solution is to just get her out of the situation. I put her in the sling or the stroller (her choice) and go for a walk. Often we take her out at night about an hour before we want to go to bed, and we ride our bicycles and let her run along with us in the park, playing "tag". she runs ahead and we try to catch her, or vice-versa. she can run flat-out for 20 or 30 minutes, sometimes covering a lot of distance. at some point, she will suddenly say that she's too tired to run and she wants to get in the sling on my back. I put her in the sling and she passes out cold within 2 minutes and we ride home.
The other advice I can give is to start any "sleeptime" preperations before the kid gets to the point of 'overtired' and hysterical. after they get to the whiney superfussy stage, its really hard to get them to calm down enough to sleep.
phew, and now i wrote too much again
hope this helps, anyway