Re: Fallen off the EC wagon
I think at that age we were still going through ridiculous numbers of diapers. We started most-of-the-time EC when she was 3 months old, and for the next few months we went through something like 18 diapers a day on average. They just pee a lot. It's OK.
Around 6 months, I started keeping a log of her elimination patterns, pees into potty/sink/toilet/grass and wet diapers. It really helped me a lot, and I think we'd doubled our catch rate within the week (from 1/3 to 2/3) but it was more about my awareness than hers at that stage. I personally don't find that being bare-bottomed makes much difference in catch rate or awareness, but I think it's good for their bums to get some air so we do it lots anyway, and I'd often rather clean the floor than change a diaper.
At the beginning I was also much more focused on the end goal of toilet independence or at least diaper free, but now, after almost 10 months of full-time EC, I've finally learned to relax a bit about it and be more "process oriented." It keeps her dry and clean now, helps her maintain her inborn awareness of her elimination, and she's not getting habituated to sitting in a wet diaper.
I think she'll be diaper free when she can communicate her needs more clearly, not only to me but to other caregivers, like her father and grandparents, who aren't as attuned to subtle cues.
As for training pants, that's mostly what we use now for nights and outings, but the kind with a waterproof outer layer. There's no reason you can't use them now, if you're changing after every pee. You're still doing EC that way, even if you're not catching as much as you'd like to. At home, I prefer to use a thin prefold tucked into a diaper belt, because it's easier to change and wash/dry than the pocket trainers we have.