We did the sticker chart too. She was littler, so to match her attention span it was staggered, with increasingly big rewards.
As in, one night on her own: a small toy (can't remember what, something she wanted).
Then three nights on her own: Something else (still pretty small).
Five nights on her own: A little bigger.
Etc, so it was sort of a stair pattern.
Then once she had gotten to sleep on her own for two full weeks (it didn't happen all at once, there were false starts and then she had to build up to the five straight nights again, etc.), she got the big reward, the one she really
wanted. (A babydoll I think?)
Our biggest problem was consistency and routine -- her dad works weird hours (like, home at 9 PM) and they both really like to have some time together before going to sleep. I think it would have gone better with more routine -- that's definitely important.
In terms of instilling any new habit, though, you just have to be consistent and calm about it and steel yourself for the fact that your kid is unlikely to be calm. You already seem to recognize this, but if you give in after the 4,762nd time, it just teaches your kid that 4,762 times (of asking or tantruming or whatever) are needed to reach the goal (getting an iPod Touch, sleeping in mom and dad's bed, whatever).