In mammalian development, dynamic epigenetic reprogramming occurs in pre-implantation embryos and primordial germ cells and plays a critical role in conferring pluripotency on embryonic cells. Pluripotent stem cells, such as embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, have been derived and maintained in vitro under culture conditions that include stimulators and inhibitors of extrinsic signaling. Recent advances in stem cell cultivation have opened the possibility of capturing naive pluripotency, which is reminiscent of the pluripotency of inner cell mass cells, in vitro. However, emerging evidence has revealed complexity of epigenetic regulation in pluripotent stem cells in vitro that reflects the developmental stage, gender, and species. In this review, we describe the developmental potential and epigenetic regulation of pluripotent stem cells in rodents and humans in vitro and discuss unsolved issues in developing strategies to capture in vivo pluripotency in vitro.