From the service manual:
TIRE PRESSURE WARNING CHECK CONNECTOR
The tire pressure warning check connector can be grounded in order to initiate self-diagnosis without a CONSULT-III. The tire pressure warning check connector is located behind the lower portion of the instrument panel LH. Refer to PG-31, "Harness Layout".
SELF DIAGNOSTIC PROCEDURE (WITHOUT CONSULT-III)
To start the self-diagnostic results mode, ground terminal of the tire pressure warning check connector. The malfunction location is indicated by the warning lamp flashing.
The schematics are a bit sketchy and I have not been able to find the diagnostic connector on my Altima, although I have never really looked very hard.
Apparently, the TPMS system DOES keep track of which sensors are where because looking at all the fault codes, the system designates FL, FR, RL and RR sensors. When the transmitters are "woken up" initially, the service manual states to inflate the tires to the following pressures so the system will know which sensor is in which tire:
Tire position Tire pressure kPa (kg/cm2, psi)
Front LH 250 (2.5, 36)
Front RH 230 (2.3, 33)
Rear RH 210 (2.1, 30)
Rear LH 190 (1.9, 27)
and then drive at 25mph for "a few minutes".
Anyhow - I have rotated my tires myself 3 or 4 times now and have never had any problems with the TPMS.