GaSb-based semiconductor diode lasers are promising candidates for light sources working in the mid-infrared wavelength region of 2-5 μm. Using edge emitting lasers with ridge-waveguide structure, light emission with good beam quality can be achieved. Fabrication of the ridge waveguide requires precise etch stop control for optimal laser performance. Simulation results are presented that show the effect of increased confinement in the waveguide when the etch depth is well-defined. <i>In situ</i> reflectance monitoring with a 675 nm-wavelength laser was used to determine the etch stop with high accuracy. Based on the simulations of laser reflectance from a proposed sample, the etching process can be controlled to provide an endpoint depth precision within ± 10 nm.